It had been a long time coming, brewing in my mind and soul. Living with the indecision kept me in a state of inertia. I knew what I ultimately needed to do, but agonized over the consequences of that decision. A gathering of circumstances had led me to ponder my choices:
1. Life is short. I first realized this when my dad passed away years ago at the age of 55, and I knew then it was important to follow your dreams sooner than later. I started off all right, but then got sidetracked for twelve years. This past year my supervisor's sixteen-year-old son tragically passed away and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Two more wake up calls I needed to heed.
2. My heart just wasn't in full-time teaching any more. This concerned me greatly, as I was teaching at a school where the students truly needed fully committed teachers. One retired teacher told me I needed to hang on for four more years for a decent retirement, but I knew I couldn't last, nor would it be fair to my students.
And so I resigned from full-time teaching on the last day of school, with the "plan" of earning my living through art and substitute teaching. The next day I went into a complete tailspin of panic. What had I done, giving up that salary and those benefits? What had I done to my daughters? How was I going to make it through August? This went on for a week as I worked on cleaning out my classroom. But then a little bit of serendipity came my way on a visit to the staff restroom. We fondly call that particular restroom the Literacy Loo. There's a small table in there, on which people set books they have read and want to share with others. I picked up one of those books to read the recommendations on the dust jacket, and this book title caught my eye: The Road Less Traveled. Naturally it brought to mind the poem by Robert Frost. I have always loved that poem and all that it signifies, and I thought, "Yes, that's me - taking the road less traveled." Suddenly I felt so much better.
August will still be shaky, but I know I have done the right thing - for myself, for my students, and for my daughters. I believe I am empowering them to make better choices for themselves in their own lives.
Now as I return to my heart's path, I say good-bye to the road that I have been traveling for the last 11 years.
sharing the joy of learning
the delight of children
seeing them grow and turn into fine young people
I will still see my students when I return to sub, as well as my friends on this wonderful staff. They are an amazing and truly dedicated group of people. I hope to gain that same sense of passion as I embark on my path in art.