Last room?

love to write, love to think, love to SLICE... please join our community

love to write, love to think, love to SLICE… please join our community

38 short years ago, I never thought this year would arrive.  Perhaps back then, I wasn’t even sure that I would last as a teacher.  That first year was very difficult, I was young… 20 years to be exact.  I finished college in three years instead of 4, anxious to be out in the ‘real world’.  I think now, “what was the hurry? ” College was a pretty awesome way to live.  I loved decorating my room with my four roomies every summer.  I loved getting my new books and the way they looked when they were all stacked on my desk.  And yes, I loved my classes, I loved the library, I loved learning.  I remember right where I was in the library stacks my freshman year when it dawned on me….I love research…how did this happen…suddenly I loved to learn!

It had developed steadily over a period of years.  I don’t remember loving all subjects, especially not math or Think and Do, the sixties version of teaching reading.  It wasn’t until Junior High school that I learned that writing wasn’t just beautiful cursive.  I started to learn about telling stories through writing from an anti grammar teacher of English.  I know she was ahead of her time.  She used to say to us,

You will learn to write by writing in this class, not through filling out worksheets on prepositional phrases.  I will teach you how to write a story with a prepositional phrase.

Thank God for Mrs. Gracey.  She was a rebel with a cause in 1967!  I never got above a ‘C’ on a first draft, but I remember that I kept working at something for the first time in my life.  There were a few other teachers that impacted me along the way in high school, some that even saw some sort of potential in me and told me so.

When I was a little girl, every August I started feeling the itch for the structure of school.  My mom always treated me to a pair of new shoes and at least one new outfit to wear.  I loved to pick out school supplies and tried every year to become a bit more organized than the last.  When I got my first teaching job, it actually was the day before school started.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know back then .  I quickly arranged my open space classroom after the inservice and felt like I was good to go.   That year I felt like I was always trying to catch up, that I was always a step behind.  I didn’t even have time to get my new pair of shoes or even a poster to hang in my first classroom.

The next summer, I basically got married, and then planned for the next eight weeks, curriculum, bulletin boards, letters home, mailboxes and the all important reading nook.  That second summer I remember cutting a hole in a giant refrigerator box and using contact paper to cover the whole box. My mom started screaming at me while I steadily worked in the back yard, “You’ve got a wedding in five days and you are doing this to get ready? Really, Nancy, don’t you care about anything other than that classroom?”

But, every year since then I have always had to have something new for my classroom, something that my students would love.  This year was no exception, even though it is my last.  I wanted a new reading/writing workshop sharing chair.  So last week I was busy painting it red and purple and stenciling flowers, vines and covering it in polka dots.  I have discovered the little kids love to count dots when they can.  I put one of my favorite pillows on and said to myself, “Voila…I am happy to start, excited to start, sad to start this bittersweet year of ‘Finishing Strong’. ”

What are new things that you are adding this year? I hope it brings you much joy….xo

my last room

About Nanc

lifelong teacher who is semi-retired (does this sound better?) who loves God, family and laughing... who hates social injustice... who wants to write every day... who needs to exercise every day... who blog hops... who wants to live her everyday life led by her savior, Jesus Christ!

13 responses »

  1. Love the chair, love the refrigerator box, love this piece. Your experiences are so similar to mine (and you have inspired me to write my own ” I love school story”). This year I rearranged my small room (I am a reading specialist) and added a banner I made that says “reading is fun!.” Good luck as you finish strong this year. Enjoy every bittersweet moment!

  2. A time for firsts and a time for lasts. You are finishing strong.
    Maybe the next step is to write books that teachers will read to their students. Then you can always be in the classroom.
    Loved the story about preparing for your wedding.

  3. I don’t have a classroom to set up this year, but when I did, I always loved adding new things. One year I bought ribbon curtains to cover the windows with. They gave the room pizzazz (or so I like to think).

    Congrats on the beginning of the last year. Like Pamela said, you’re finishing strong, Nancy!

  4. Enjoy this last year! I now don’t have a classroom to set up ( my first year not teaching in a classroom). It feels odd to not be out buying notebooks, looking for new items in my classroom but the flip side is I am reading and writing more and you will as well. Have fun this year!

  5. Wow Nanc,
    Your last year…OMG soak it all in. I hope you enjoy every second of this year-savor it. You should subscribe to shuttercal-you take a picture everyday and submit it-by the end of the year you’ll have a wonderful collection of pictures from a very special year. I love your new chair-and the story of your mom yelling at the choices you made the week of your wedding…sounds just like me and my mom-too funny! Thank for sharing this bittersweet slice-it brought a little tear to my eyes.

  6. Your enthusiasm for school flows through this piece. What great memories in the past and in the making of this final year. You are an inspiration the way you give it your all. I hope you have a great year. Your chair is awesome!

  7. Beautifully written here, Nancy, although there is a sad nostalgia in it too. I love the link to your blog title, the idea that from the first to the last, you do wonderful things for your students, like that awesome chair. I used to cover all my bulletin boards with new fabric-loved shopping for just the right design! Now, I don’t do much new in my office, but I have new ideas for new groups working together this year, some including parents. Thanks for all you shared with us about your teaching life (fun about the wedding summer!) & best wishes for a marvelous year!

  8. I cannot imagine the first day of the last year. What an exciting, bittersweet place to be. I know it is not the stuff in our classrooms that really matters, but there is something about it–like it is the incarnation of our passion, our joy for teaching. That is one joyous chair!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s