4th grade team
Our silly pose
You gotta love this group!
I have been a teacher for a little over four years and since the beginning I have taught at the same school. I even did my student teaching there. It is a school that is very near and dear to my heart. Not only do I love my students and my team, but I truly love all of the staff and the administration. I feel so fortunate and so blessed to teach there. It's one of those jobs where you look forward to going because you get to do what you love doing and because you just get to be around great people.
I assumed I would always be a teacher. I assumed that I would teach until it was time to retire - many, many years away. I do love teaching. I don't love all the meetings and paperwork and assessments and all of that jazz, but I do love sitting with my students and really teaching. This past August when the school year began I assumed I would teach up until December when Morgan Kate was due to arrive. I would take nine or ten weeks off and then I would return to work. That was the plan anyways.
Thursday, August 14th was the first official teacher work day for our district. I always look forward to this day because by the end of the summer I am anxious to see familiar faces and catch up with everyone. My school usually tries to plan something fun for the first day back. This year we were supposed to wear our favorite t-shirt. I had a really hard time deciding what to wear. But in the end I decided on a shirt I had purchased over the summer. It was a white shirt and in red letters it read, "Due in December". I thought it was perfect.
The first day back was really nice. We had a great breakfast and lunch. I got to see those "familiar faces" I had been anxious to see. I got to catch up with everyone's summer vacations and the latest gossip. We spent the day in catching up, eating and attending numerous meetings. It just so happened that I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon. You know the "Don't-worry-Travis-I'll-only-be-in-there-for-a-second.-It's-okay-if-I-go-alone" appointment. I had to leave a few minutes early so I left my room in sort of a mess. It was basically ready for students, but I still had name tags to make and posters to hang. No worry, I was coming back the next day.
Wrong. It was at that appointment that I realized I would not be returning to work anytime soon. I was on bed rest indefinitely. And little did I know that ten days later my "Due in December" baby girl would be arriving, fifteen weeks early.
Since that day in August I have not returned to work. I took as much of my leave as possible and used all of my days from the Family Medical Leave Act. When all of that was said and done I needed to return to work in early January in order to keep my position. Well, that didn't happen. As of early January Morgan Kate had only been home for three weeks, she still required oxygen at all times, and she was being fed with bottles and a feeding tube. I was not about to leave her. My heart wasn't ready for it and I just wasn't comfortable asking someone else to feed her with the feeding tube. Can you imagine that conversation? So, I resigned. It was a very tough decision because like I said before, I just assumed I would work, have Morgan Kate, take some time off and return. Besides like I also said, I love fourth grade, I love my team and I love my school.
Several months ago I had to make a decision about next year. Boy, was this tough. I agonized over this decision for weeks. I prayed, I cried, I prayed some more. I asked God to send me a clear, clear message. Something in flashing lights would really be good. I needed to know in black and white what decision to make. Unfortunately, God doesn't always make things so crystal clear. I had to do a little thinking of my own and a little soul searching. And in the end I decided that I wanted to spend one more year at home with Morgan Kate. It's what I think she needed and ultimately what I need.
That brings me to this week. Remember the room I left sort of in a mess, but basically ready for students? Well, my co-workers all jumped in and finished the room. And two wonderful women filled in and took over as "teacher". This week I had to go and pack all of it up. It was something I thought I was ready for, but I really wasn't. Walking into the school on Wednesday was emotional. A flood of thoughts and memories all came rushing back. I felt like it was August 14th all over again. Packing up my stuff was overwhelming too. First, I have way too much stuff. More stuff than any person really needs. Second, it just felt so awkward to pack my things up and move out of "my room". And third, I hate goodbyes.
We had lunch at school today and a farewell to all of those that are leaving. Each year we do this. We have lunch, we socialize and then we say goodbye to those who will not be returning. I have always been on the other side. Today I was on the "goodbye" side. And I must say it was overwhelming. I know I am making the right decision for my family and for me. I know that more than anything I want to be with Morgan Kate. But it's still hard. It's so hard to say goodbye. And I do plan to return, but as I know all too well, we never really know what's in store or what's right around the corner. So today was tough. It was emotional for me. My school and my coworkers are amazing and it's hard to say goodbye to them. It's as simple as that.
I pray that when the time is right and I do return to work that there will be a spot for me. And even if there isn't there will always be a spot in my heart for LMES and all of the people there.