In less than 40 days ( teaching days) I will be ending a career of 30 years in the classroom and begin my sequel. The next chapter of my life is a blank page waiting to be filled with dreams, next steps and most importantly looking to God to fill in the white spaces with the story He has chosen for me.
I purposely waited until after Spring Break to tell my 3rd graders that I am retiring at the end of this school year. I wanted the timing to be right, the telling to be perfect and the emotions of all this feels like to be under control. I wanted to create a setting that relayed exactly how I was feeling and that morning, in a split second God moment, I knew I needed to read Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess. I am so thankful that I work with a wonderful school librarian who immediately found the book and sent it my way. As I began to read the book, I lifted up a quick prayer that the right words would follow.
What seemed like seconds later, I had finished reading the book and now needed to follow up with my story – my blessing of having been a teacher for 30 years – my gratefulness that they were the last class that I would have the honor to teach. The classroom was silent as I explained that on the last day of school as they left to move onto a new building, I was also leaving never to return again. Understanding and questions followed but most knew that retirement was an ending and I had the chance to begin again doing something else. Grabbing this teachable moment, I provided writing paper in the shape of a suitcase for the students to predict what I will do next in retirement. These brought smiles, laughter and some tears as the reality settled in and began to take hold. Here are some of their responses…
When Ms. Geisen retires, I predict she will…
- be a chef in Ireland
- be a rich person
- be an author and illustrator
- go to Florida
- have fun with her family
- go and see her son
And the list goes on. There were several responses about making brownies so guess what I’ll be doing for my class before the last day???
You might be wondering at this point why I am sharing this with all of you since I am surely not the first person who has ever retired. Here are some quotes from Oh The Places You’ll Go to clarify:
Dr. Seuss assures the reader that life can be tricky but success is almost 100% guaranteed. May I pause there and redirect you just a little? Life is full of challenges and success and for me this is all because God is the director of my journey and I couldn’t be more sure than when He is leading the way. He chose my story and continues to write it out as the next steps unfold. God knows the plans for my future and I just need to listen and be prepared to embrace what’s next.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
[Tweet “God is the director of my journey and I am never more certain than when He is leading the way.”]
The journey ahead is unknown but the Author of All will be leading and guiding. I pray each step will draw me closer to God.
When life’s endings open up the possibilities of new beginnings, who do you turn to to direct your next steps?
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Wow, congrats on your retirement!! Looks like you are well loved by the little ones in your life! What a blessing!
Anyhoo, I found your blog through a fellow blogger. I thought I would just drop by and say hi! It would totally make my day if you did the same.. or better yet, keep in touch! <3 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your words of encouragement. Blessings!
Wgat a beautiful and precious post. Yes, our journey ahead is unknown! That can makes us afraid. But the Author of All will be leading and guiding. I love this sentence in your blog. I will pray for you that i all may bring you closer to our God.
xxx out Holland.
I am blessed by your encouragement here and your heart for affirming that God is my leader and guide. I pray you are well. Thank you for blessing me today.
Hi Mary! Those papers from your students are just so precious! I hope you will frame a few of them? I think I’d be happy with all the suggestions they made about your future. (Rich? An author and illustrator? Sure!!) But what’s fun is that you are filling out a form like this in your mind, wondering what will come true?
Yes, it is all in God’s hands. So I pray that you will be able to rest and be at peace in a way that will allow you to listen. After you make the brownies of course 🙂
Brownies will need to be baked and enjoyed by my third graders before anything else but I am making a list in my mind. I have found that people want to make a list for me but God already has my list so it is not necessary. I love that you will be praying for me-the sequel is unknown so there is a sense of nervousness from the fear of the unknown but God has been assuring me all along that He’s got this! Blessings my friend! Have a restful weekend.
I’ve been praying for you and this next big step in your life, Mary! I’m excited for you and, as I’ve said before, a bit envious of this new exciting venture you’re stepping up to! I pray that God uses you in big ways. I also pray that you’ll do a bit of traveling that might bring you to my neck-of-the-woods sooner rather than later! One more thing, your student’s notes are so precious! That’s got to be the hardest part–leaving those little hearts behind. But what a mark you’ve made on this and previous generations, Mary! You are to be congratulated and honored! Enjoy those brownies!
Traveling is at the top of my list but nothing is set in stone yet. Thank you for being so faithful and always stopping by here to encourage me. Your words have a special place in my heart.
Maybe you and I can share brownies someday! 🙂 Love and hugs!
Mary, oh, the places we’ll go when God directs our steps. I love how you seized this teachable moment for them and for us. Joining you from Wedded Wednesday. : )
Great to meet you and for you to be here, Crystal. I do know that God is my guide and when June 5 rolls around I am praying that I know that with all my being as I move into my sequel. Blessings!
I love that they want to go to the beach with you!! Such sweet notes that you will treasure forever. This type of creativity and care for your students is what makes you such a wonderful teacher, Mary.
Thank you for blessing me with your encouragement. This had to be one of the best teaching moments this school year because I actually was just me and the kids were just them with no testing or standards to hold over their heads. Have a blessed weekend and get some rest.
Congratulations at the transition between seasons! I am excited for you. I bet the amazing moments you have to take with you into the next part of the journey are too numerous to count. God bless you! – xoxo, Letetia
You are right that my blessings are too numerous to count but that is because I have allowed God into my life. Each moment int eh past thirty years has been a gift even though many did not feel like it at the time. I truly will miss the kids and colleagues but am looking forward to all that is next. Blessings!
How lovely are those predictions! I’m so glad to see the love and imagination that your students possess. May they also go far in their lives with God’s guidance! And may He bless your next step!
There is nothing like the imaginations and heartfelt words of kids. This writing will be a treasured gift to me forever. Have a blessed weekend!
Mary, thanks for some insights into your students and how you are handling the transition to new adventures. I just know that you will be doing some amazing things this time next year!
Thank you for encouraging me John! You know my life’s journey and it means so much to me that you took the time to cheer me on. Love you!
So cute! So Fun! I loved this post Mary. I love your heart to teach. In my book, you are seriously teacher of the year! Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. Keep on loving on those kids.
Thank you sweet Kelly! I am blessed by your words, awed by the Holy Spirit in connecting us through words and His word and honored to be part of your blog each week at #RaRalinkup. I will keep loving on those kids. Hope your week has been wonderful!
I love this activity you did with your students! What a beautiful and meaningful keepsake you have now. And I am definitely going on that beach trip with you all ;)! Kids say the funniest things. To be in one of those little minds…
Kids do say the funniest things and these pages will be a beautiful memory for me. So glad you are here and would love to have you on my beach trip. Love and hugs!
Well, this was just delightful. Loved the notes from your kids. I’m really hoping the places you go include a place where you and I will get to meet!! 🙂
Love you, friend. xoxo
You know that a visit to Chicago is on my list. There is nothing like kids to come up with funny and cute ideas and words from the heart. These will make great memories for me. Hope you have had a good week.
These little cards are just so cute. Congrats on your retiring after 30 years. Thank you for being a teacher to our next generation of leaders.
I have loved being a teacher because the students are the reason you are there and what keeps you going on the challenging days. I am looking forward to all God has planned for me next and I pray that He guides all of our steps forward in our journeys. Blessings!
I loved this! Children and their vast imaginations. But who knows! I don’t know what this next season holds for you, but I can assure you it’s going to be awesome!
Your encouragement is such a great way to start my day. I am blessed by your friendship, mentoring and love. Hope your week is going well.
Always HIM! O! The Places You Will Go! Love that book! Visiting from RaRa!
So glad you are here cheering me on, Susan! I love the beautiful community of writers at #RaRaLinkup.
Thanks for sharing those glimpses into the minds of your little people. Just sweet!
A rich chef in Ireland, huh?
The sky’s the limit for you, girl!
My little people never cease to amaze me. There were many other answers too but I chose some of the best to share here. It is interesting to hear 3rd graders perspective on retirement.
Disclaimer-I don’t cook a lot but I watch Food Network so maybe a chef is not a far stretch! 🙂
Thanks for being here!
Congrats on your retirement! How exciting to share a legacy and a new beginning with your students- all at the same time. So many times we just think of retirement as the end. Not as the beginning of a new dream. Such a wonderful gift of wisdom to impart!
Thank you for blessing me with encouragement today. I love that there is so much life ahead for God to guide me through. Blessed you stopped by!