After 30 years of 7th grade, Mrs. Math is retiring.
She has spent her entire career here at The School, all of it in 7th grade, which is nearly unheard of. As The Principal says, not many people can stand middle schoolers for an entire career, but Mrs. Math did it. Fortunately, she's young enough, and in great health (she runs and does aerobics and can keep up and surpass most of her students on a walking track) that she and her husband can both enjoy their retirement. She grew up in Hawaii, and goes there every summer to visit her brother, so she'll get to spend more time there now. And play more tennis and golf, garden, and learn to knit.
However, I'm going to miss her something awful.
She was one of the first people I met at The School and as our team leader, she's been fabulous. She's funny, has a dry sense of humor, and the past five years of working with her have been a joy. We've been through a lot together.
Her leaving means we have some big changes on The Team. First off, as the teacher on The Team with the most seniority, I am, by default, the new team leader for next year. The good thing is that this means that Mrs. Eagle, Mrs. Bunny and I are the 7th grade team leaders. The three of us have always been good friends, and now that we're pretty much running the 7th grade, we'll be able to put some of our crazy ideas into place.
The bad thing is that I will only have one returning teacher on The Team next year. Miss Reading, who was new to us this year, will be back. Mrs. Language is moving up to the 8th grade to teach her true love, reading. To replace her, we're getting a teacher who student taught with Mrs. Eagle last year, and who has subbed this past year to get more classroom management. She's a fantastic substitute and I think she'll be great, although it will be her first year as a teacher with her own classroom. To replace Mrs. Math, we are getting a transfer from another middle school in the District, Mr. Math, who will also be one of our basketball coaches. Since his arrival means that we double the number of male teachers in the 7th grade to a whopping two, I knew it meant that I'd lose Mr. Social Studies to another team. Face it, there was no way they'd let me have both of the male teachers. So, Mr. Math moves to Mrs. Bunny's team, and her social studies teacher moves to Mrs. Eagle's team and I get Mrs. Eagles, teacher, Mrs. Social Studies, who taught 5th grade for 10 years before coming to us last year.
So....lots of changes. The good news is I don't have to change classrooms. After having four rooms in three years, I still enjoy not having to move.
And I'm teaching a new subject next year. The Principal had put out the word that she would like to offer our kids more related arts classes and it would be great if one teacher per team volunteered to teach one of these courses. She hinted that she'd like to move the health curriculum out of the physical education department (where they try to cram it in along with physical education and still try to get the kids the requirement amount of physical activity per week), and wouldn't it be great if the science teachers took it over? Well, actually, Mrs. Eagle, Mrs. Robin and I agreed and volunteered. So, Mrs. Eagle and I will do 8th grade health (nutrition and fitness) and Mrs. Robin will do 6th grade health (hygiene, social relationships, etc).
Mrs. Eagle and I are looking forward to this for a few reasons. One, it's a change. After five years of nothing but science, it will be nice to have something different to spice things up. Secondly, we both really believe in the importance of nutrition and fitness, especially after looking out at all these pudgy unhealthy kids all the time. And third, it's going to be fun to teach a course that isn't tested so we can have a lot more fun with it - no pacing guide, no one breathing over our shoulders, none of that.
I think next year will be a lot of fun, and a lot of challenges. And I know I'm going to miss Mrs. Math.
I just hope she thinks of us once in a while when she's curling her toes into the sand and reading a trashy novel!