Slice of Life Tuesday: Bidding a treasured colleague goodbye

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers

Here it is…the home stretch.  We are in our last week of school, and everywhere there are signs of preparing to say goodbye. Projects come down from the walls and into backpacks bursting with writing portfolios, reading journals and locker knick-knacks.  Everything we do has that “this is the last time we will…” ring to it: minilesson, readaloud, homework notes, word of the day, and turn and talk. We are one foot in the classroom and one foot in summertime already.  It is a bittersweet time, as goodbye always is – we are all ready to let go and move onto to new adventures, but we know that we will miss the closeness of sharing a learning space, a learning year.  But, I know that I will see “my” kids again in the Fall – they may move out of my room, but they always come back to visit…which is such a nice thing to be able to count on.
But there will be one goodbye that will be different – my young colleague, Rachel, is moving West.  My daily trips from my door…

down the sixth grade hallway…

to her door…..

will come to an end.  And I miss her already.  So, what is it about my young colleague that inspired me to be a better teacher? To be a worthy mentor? Mostly, it was Rachel herself.  She is so bright, so motivated, so committed. We need educators like her in our classrooms, and our kids deserve teachers like her inspiring them, showing them that learning matters.  How could I not want to make sure that she continued to think of education, of being a teacher, specifically, as something important, exciting, worthy of her dedication? 
Because of Rachel, I looked at our curriculum in a new light. 
Because of Rachel, I rethought the structure and philosophy behind my workshops, my lessons.
Because of Rachel, I discovered new ways to approach the school year – what was done when, and why?
Because of Rachel, I felt again the excitement of being responsible for the learning attitudes of impressionable students, of being a role model for a learning life.
Because of Rachel…
This lovely young lady has given me so much hope for the profession I love.  Seeing her enthusiasm and curiosity, her willingness to dedicate hours upon hours to better herself as an educator, her sense of commitment to her kids…all of this has reinvigorated me.  I may be “an old lady teacher”, ( as one student memorably called me!), but I feel very much a fresh, new teacher again…because of Rachel.
Bon voyage, my friend…. and thank you!



14 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Bidding a treasured colleague goodbye

  1. It is just absolutely energizing to have a wonderful colleague to talk to. I can see by your post that you will miss Rachel very much, Tara. What a wonderful tribute to her-best of wishes to her in her new place!

  2. We all need a "Rachel" in our buildings. As "an old lady" teacher myself I am thankful for opportunities to connect and have a colleague with a burst of energy. I wish her the best of luck in her new location.

  3. Being another veteran old lady I love the energy brought by the young ones who love our profession, too. You were able to articulate so well the true joys of a learning community give and take. This experience will live with both of you in your practices and in your hearts. Lovely to read about!

  4. Tara – I loved your post – I love your blog! I found you during the SOL March challenge, and I'm so grateful for the things you post and connect to on your blog. I long for a mentor teacher – I was never given one. I was given a classroom, schedule, and textbook, and was ignored for my first three years of teaching. Emails were sent by the department head asking if she could visit classrooms, but somehow never made it to mine. Reading your post today made me long for a connection with a mentor teacher, learning with an established educator would be amazing and significant.

  5. Yeah really, OLD LADY TEACHER. Ha! I can feel your feelings a loss and sadness. So hard to find someone on your wavelength and then say good-bye. That's a hard one. How about a coffee/cupcake date in Ridgewood soon?Bonnie

  6. …because of Rachel…. I like how you crafted this goodbye-thank you – note. I said goodbye to a young colleague two years ago. I miss her and her energy.

  7. A bittersweet post of farewells to students and Rachel. You were lucky to have her for a while, but she was lucky to have you to work alongside with her. Hopefully she will continue the slice and you will keep up with her.

  8. I feel like I have moved around so much in my building- it's funny to me that someone I get so much from is someone I have never been on a team with! Like another commenter said, I can feel your feelings of loss and sadness. This one person has helped me through a lot, and I have been able to bounce ideas and strategies off of her. Hopefully someone who possesses those same qualities as Rachel will come in and you can have another relationship like that. I hope you are able to stay in touch with Rachel!

  9. Wonderful tribute and goodbye. I, too, said goodbye today to a wonderful young teacher who is moving east! Perhaps there will be a new young teacher for you to mentor next year!?!

  10. What a sweet goodbye to Rachel. I think mentoring should be that open two-way learning process. Unfortunately, I usually hear only about the mentors that say this is how I do it with no explanation or questions-allowed or reflection. I love that you cultivated such a positive and inviting relationship with Rachel. Both of you were so lucky and hope you can find a way to continue to learn and question and process together! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I'll be mentoring a new teacher next year. And she was my student in 3rd grade! I've said goodbye to two dear friends who retired this year. The goodbyes are hard!

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