But still, the year seems to have flown by, and before I know it, the end is upon us. While I have tried for 32 years to avoid them, people insist on countdowns to the end - which only results in more anticipation and the appearance that time is passing more slowly. Still, though there are moments when time creeps along, in general, the year is still moving at a steady, fast pace. Now, with the countdown clock reaching single digits, there is so much to do.
I have two education-based trips upon me - one that begins before school even lets out for the summer, and another in July. Plans for those excursions are still being made, and the dreams of the possibilities during those experiences still swirl around in my brainage like sugar plums. Then, there is this six-session Summer History Camp that I will facilitate (also beginning in July) for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The planning and coordination of this venture is also encroaching on my time.
It doesn't help that I had a car accident that required me to shop for a new vehicle in a time when the economics of such do not favor a lowly-compensated teacher. The ongoing work with back pain, exacerbated by the accident have removed many of my after school hours. Ugh. All of these things, along with my preaching duties on most Sundays - and oh yes, a family that wants me present with them, a graduating daughter and a sports-injured son - definitely keep my minutes and hours filled these days.
We're ending the year with a bang - Hoggatt Cave. In many ways, Hoggatt Cave is how I began my 27-year stint with Joplin Schools. During the first few months, my class presented the cave (which has changed and improved every year since). We made a video of the cave and sent it to KOAM-TV for a weekly/monthly classroom competition. The video won their weekly prize ($100) and went on to win the monthly prize of $1000. Now, it seems an appropriate way to sign off just before this impending retirement from the profession.
Everything is a last right now, but that doesn't mean I am lamenting the decision. Retirement is right for me, and this is the right time. Many have asked if I will miss it, and honestly, with no offense intended, I will not. There are plenty of directions I can go from here. When they ask what my plans are, my answer remains, We'll see. In many ways, this is a leap of faith, but I have a strong faith (that's only becoming stronger). My work will allow me to serve the church more, volunteer more, and perhaps even guide students and educators in brand new ways. Keep watching this space, and see for yourself.