As the summer was coming to a close, I had a thought that I never imagined would enter my head: maybe retirement wouldn’t be so bad.
Who I Am at the Core
I am now in my 36th year of education. Education has been, and continues to be, part of my core. I am a nerd from the tip of my auburn head (not so much my natural color now) to the hot pink polished nails at the end of my toes. As a classroom teacher for 29 years, I loved interacting with teens and our discussions about literature. I loved reading their writing (well, maybe the research papers tested my soul) and discovering the individuals behind the faces in my room.
When the opportunity to leave the English classroom and head into the largest classroom in the building was offered to me, I was both excited and hesitant.
Excited because now I would have the chance to interact with more students, collaborate with more teachers, and guide both through problems they were having with technology. I would be able to recommend books to more students and be surrounded by books and technology all day long.
Hesitant because I worried if I would still be able to form that teacher/student bond when I didn’t see the same students every day. Relationships are the core of education. I love teens and want to help them through the angst of the teenage years and celebrate with them when they achieve their goals. I had this discussion with my mentor, Sally Hursey, who promised me I would still have those bonds.
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Best Career Decision EVER!
The first three years as the lead librarian at my school were stressful as I was also taking courses at the University of South Carolina‘s School of Library and Information Science. Fortunately, I had a wonderful mentor to guide me through the transition from the classroom to the library. (And for those of you who haven’t made the transition, let me tell you, it is a different world! That is a blog post for later.)
However, I loved every minute of librarianship (well – except grappling with the budget). I have never been more fulfilled by my career than I am now. School librarianship involves ALL of my passions: students, teachers, education, reading, technology, collaboration, teaching, and forming relationships (I needn’t have been hesitant about taking this position!).
I was reminded of this today as I began going through the posts that have collected in my Google Reader through the first week of school with students. One of my favorite blogs is TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox. In yesterday’s post, “Libraries Are the Beating Hearts,” one of the blog’s authors shared how libraries/books/research have helped her through some of life’s difficult times. She ended with this, which sums up my feelings about libraries and being a librarian as well:
I love being a librarian. I love walking in the doors of a library. I love opening the pages of a book. I am honored every day to be a part of the beating heart of a community. Support your libraries just as you would take care of your heart. Healthy libraries are the same as healthy hearts, and without them our communities die.
So, back to the beginning of this post: I was amazed that I even considered retirement. After two weeks back at work, I am pleased to say that I still love every moment of my job. Meeting new students who love reading is so rewarding, as is meeting those who don’t and being able to put the right book in their hands. Twenty-one classes came through the library this week to check out books and I loved working with each.
Summer? Yes, I enjoyed the freedoms it offered. But now I am back where I belong and couldn’t be happier!