Today was my last day of my 20th year teaching. Wow. I'm not really sure what to think. Now, granted, all 20 have not been in the same place. I taught 5 years outside of Columbus, 2 years at another area district, and 13 at my current district. However, 20 years in the same profession seems like it should be some sort of a milestone. I have been a math teacher for 20 years. I have not taught the same thing for all of those years, but I have been doing the same basic thing for 20 years.
And yet, I have still have a long way to go and enthusiasm left for my job. When I first started teaching, I could potentially retire after 30 years teaching. With the changing conditions of teachers' pensions in the state of Ohio, I could still potentially retire in 10 years, or 11 years. But at that point in time, my first child could be in college, the second one still in high school. I would be 51 (or 52), which is still (relatively) young to retire. And to be honest, I just can't see retiring from teaching at that point. I didn't think I would retire at 30 years when I first started teaching, but it was nice knowing I had that option. With the changes in our state teachers' pension, if I don't retire at 30 or 31 years, I cannot retire until I've taught 39 years (I have to be age 60 and have 35 years in). Although I was a little upset about that at first, I can honestly say that I'm okay with that. At this point, the "plan" is to teach until I reach 40 years, which means I have just hit the halfway point in my teaching career.
Usually at this point of the year, I am jumping up and down to be out of school. In some respects, I am. I was definitely ready to move on to a new group of students from this year's group. But yet, I am a little sad to see some of this year's group go. I had this group in 7th grade, or in 8th grade and 9th grade in some cases and it's been good to see their growth. But this group has also been rather trying in other ways for me (and I've blogged about it and I really don't feel like going there right now to be honest). But instead of jumping up and down on the way out, I was quietly glad for the end of the year. I am looking forward to Twitter Math Camp and the relaxing part of vacation. But there are lots of things circulating in my head that I need to reflect on and decide how to improve.
My summers didn't used to be like this. Ever since I've been involved with the Twitterblogosphere (this blog will be 2 on June 18th and I've been active on Twitter for about 2 1/2 years), my summers have involved introspection, learning on my own about things like Standards Based Grading, and lots of education reading and discussions. And although I'm planning on doing a little of that, I think I am going to be more purposeful in what I am reading. This "Old Dog" is feeling a little worn out right now. It's time to recharge. I'd like to make my next 20 years better than my first 20 years. Thanks to all of you who have helped me (and will help me) become a better teacher. Cheers!