I am a teacher. But I am leaving teaching. It might just be for now, or it might just be for good. All I know is that it hasn’t been working for me and for my family. I spend two hours of each day in the car, instead of with my family. My little boy, for whom I worked so very hard to have and to keep in the first place, goes to daycare at 6:45 am and it breaks my heart to leave him there every single morning. Don’t get me wrong – he loves it there. But the kid germs have given his little damaged lungs a run for their money this semester, and so I am coming home to be with him. The rest of the family needs me too. Both my father-in-law and my toddler need more attention than they’ve been getting from me. They need me to slow down and join their pace of life. I am so looking forward to just slowing down and being with the ones I love.
I’ve been teaching forever, and it’s a little hard to say good-bye. My school has always been MY school. I remember running the halls as a pre-teen when my dad was first hired on at the local high school. Then I joined him there, in the glorious eighties, to live out my angst-ridden teenage years in those same halls. After the required number of years in post-secondary institutions, I returned to my beloved school – now as a teacher, and as a colleague of my dad. And so the years passed, my life always dictated by bells and timetables. After an extended maternity leave, I thought I was ready to go back last fall. I had been going to school every September since I was four years old, so it seemed like the logical thing to do. And it was a safe, soft place to land. But it turned out to be just too, too much for all of us here at home. So, I am leaving the school that has been home to me for so long, and heading out on new adventures with my family.
People ask me if it’s hard to go. I don’t think so. I’m excited and eager to try new things. And I never wanted to be a teacher who stayed just because they were afraid to leave. Life is too short to let fear make your decisions for you. But, as I told my students, I wasn’t really ready to go until I won the cookie of the day. Eighteen years and I had never won the cookie that is randomly awarded to a teacher each Friday morning over the PA. Eighteen years. There has to be a problem with their system if I can’t win that cookie in that many years. We just don’t have that many teachers there! And yes, I know I could buy my own cookie. I do it all the time. But it’s the principle of the matter! As luck would have it, I won the cookie on the very last day of classes. (This is how your story plays out when the vice-principal is also your bestie and he is tired of your whining.) You should have heard the uproar in my class when my name was announced! Thirty-one Grade 9 students leapt to their feet, threw their hands up in the air and shouted as if we had just beat the Russians in overtime! It was a glorious moment and so fun to share it with such a lovely group of little niners. I just love people who celebrate others’ successes with such complete enthusiasm and abandon. So I won my cookie. And now I am ready to go.
This blog will be my attempt to chronicle the adventures that lie ahead. I have so many ideas that dance around in my head. I’d love for you to join me and my family on the journey as we make some decisions and changes and plans and moves. These are our sweet endeavours.
Kari Raymer Bishop
Lover of Jesus, cheeses and tropical breezes... seeking balance in life, even as I embrace new challenges and chase new dreams. I am wife, mother, daughter and friend, as well as teacher, entrepreneur, activist, writer, beekeeper and hostess. Come along on the journey through my long-awaited midlife crisis!