61 Years!

No, that’s not my age, although it won’t be too long before I get there. 61 years is the number of combined years my teammate, Leslie, and I have been teaching. Yesterday I attended Leslie’s retirement party. In two weeks, she will be retiring after teaching for 41 years! Although I’m very happy for her, I’m sad that I won’t be working with her anymore, sad for all those students that will never have her for their teacher, and sad for the profession having to say goodbye to one of the best.

I have been so fortunate in my teaching career to have been part of a “dream team.” A true collaborative team is rare, but I’ve experienced it. Our team started out as a three-some, and the picture above describes how we got along together and how we felt about each other. We think the team worked so well because there were no egos involved. Each of us was completely open to sharing with and learning from each other, we were like-minded in terms of expectations of our students, and we always backed each other up. We invested a tremendous amount of time, effort, and care into building the 6th grade program at our school, but each of our classrooms was unique, our styles of teaching our own. We knew that what we had was unusual and that our team couldn’t last forever, so we never took it for granted, and we appreciated every minute of our time together.

Linda left the team first, a few years ago when her husband got transferred to Chicago. Leslie and I grieved. Now it’s my turn to grieve for Leslie. I truly have had the best of the best, a rare and wonderful professional and collaborative work experience. I’m the luckiest person in the world.

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14 thoughts on “61 Years!

  1. Maggie

    I agree, you are one of the luckiest teachers, to have that learning bond. Most work places are nothing but ego, but y’all passed through that yuck to focus on the most important task in the World, teaching children. πŸ˜€

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  2. jenclair

    What a tribute to the three of you. It is always sad when a good teacher and a good friend leaves the profession, but hopefully, there are some younger teachers who, influenced by her example, can take eventually her place.

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  3. Kay

    That was such a special post. I’m sorry that you are losing your compatriot but what a blessing you all must have been to your students. Cheers for all 3 of you!

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  4. Robin

    Maggie, Jenclair, and Kay–Thanks for your kind thoughts. There definitely are some talented and caring people to move into our places, and change and growth is so important. It’s just hard to say goodbye.

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  5. mom

    Love the pic. Combined 61 years contribution to education. Who could ask for anything better than that? How great for the kids.
    mom

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  6. Debi

    Oh my, what a truly beautiful post! It sounds as if you all were very blessed to have one another. But I’ll bet your students were the most blessed of all! I’m glad they’ve still got you!

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  7. Matt

    Congrats on the milestone, and, again, another celebration in life. What’s better than devoting life to inculcating and shaping the minds of the young?

    That teachers should reap so much respect is not entirely credited to their expertise, but their selflessness and denial of egos.

    Toast to our teachers! πŸ™‚

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  8. Bellezza

    I think the success of your team had to be, in great part, due to your loving spirit. I can see through your blog how gentle and giving you are. I would love to teach with you! Right now, I’m having a wee bit of hurt feelings because my team and I get along well, but one member wants to be exclusive with our secretary and Gifted teacher. It feels icky to be excluded; one would almost think I’m in third grade myself!

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  9. Robin

    Thanks for your kind words, Mom, Debi, Matt, and Bellezza! It was a wonderful experience for me.

    Bellezza, I know I appreciated this unusual situation even more because I had previously experienced those icky feelings caused by politics and exclusion.

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  10. Robin

    Thanks MyUtopia,
    There’s a tremendous amount of compassion and talent in the profession. Teaching is a calling, and I am always in awe of other teachers when I get to see them teaching. We mostly work in isolation, though, so the unusual thing is when a team is put together that works so well collaboratively. That’s why I feel so fortunate to have had that experience.

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  11. Dewey

    It must be so wonderful to work in a team like that! I’m the only teacher in my school who teaches my subject, and it’s been that way most of my career. In a way, it’s nice to be off on my own doing things my own way, but then I see other members of my department who all teach the same thing collaborating, and it seems like such fun.

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  12. Robin

    That’s very kind of you to say. Thanks, Karen!

    Dewey,
    I think teachers are independent, self-reliant individuals, by nature. The collaborative experience was really different for me, but I enjoyed it tremendously.

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