Today I turn in my letter of resignation, thus making my retirement official. I like the date: 1/23. It seemed propitious. I was going to wait until the 31st, but 1-2-3 ready-set-go appealed to me. The timing matters, actually. I get a retirement bonus if I inform the district of my impending departure by the first of February. My colleague across the hall is also retiring this year, and we have had a lot of fun with goofy draft retirement letters and other "I'm outta here" stuff. I even created a flowchart that everyone had a good laugh about. In the end I wrote a respectful, professional note--the Catholic school boy in me is just too strong. I want to walk away with good feelings and the relationships I've cultivated intact. I feel like yelling "fuck this shit!" every damn day. So many times I just want to walk off and not look back. But those are urges, nothing more. They aren't the real me. I've worked too hard over the last twenty-five years building mutual respect and trust with my colleagues and co-workers. Even though I don't expect to go back to the school district in any capacity, including substitute teaching, or even go back to public education at all, I like having the feeling that the doors are still open. I want people to think well of me even if they never see me again. Some of those folks will, of course, see me again. One, it's a small town. Two, many of them are my dear friends.
I've only 88 more days to be "Mr. O'Connor." To some of my former students, I will always be "Mr. O'Connor." That's cool. I'm fortunate to have some nice connections with former students. That's a side benefit of the job I never really expected. But "Mr. O'Connor" feels more and more each day like a part I played on a long-running TV show. Imagine being a soap opera actor having the same gig every year for decades. That's me! (They aren't cancelling the show, just writing me out.)
One, two, three . . . GO!
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