And I won't. Go back ever, that is. 2011 is the year that Nance Finally Gets Out. With my thirty years in, I'm retiring. Or, retired, that is. After doing the math, I can finish out my Illustrious Career by serving a little extra time (14 days) in July, thanks to the Nice People at HR.
I have to say that I'm very comfortable with my decision for lots of reasons. Thirty years is a long time to be in such a demanding, giving, calisthenic career. I am confident that I am leaving while I'm still at the top of my game. I had a good year with some terrific kids. And I was fortunate to spend the vast majority of my teaching career at one school district, and one which afforded me an incredible amount of academic and professional freedom with colleagues whom I respected and had a good time with.
The only regret I leave with is that I had to mislead my students. My decision to retire, once made, was a deeply personal and private one, and they did not know that this was my last year. No one did. Many of them made plans to check in with me next year, either to be an aide for me or to contribute to the literary magazine for which I am the faculty adviser. So many inquired about taking my creative writing class, knowing it was their only chance to have me again as a teacher. I feel bad that I couldn't be entirely honest with them without making my personal life part of the public domain.
Now, I will take some time to breathe. I'm not sure what I'll do with all this English in my head. Who will I share color symbolism and diction clues with in The Great Gatsby? Who wants to talk about the Freudian elements in The Catcher in the Rye? Anyone up for a discussion on the dynamic hero in Miller's The Crucible? And whenever there's an impromptu forum on Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman, please let me know. I'm all over that. If only I could just Teach and do nothing else of it all. That was always my most profound Joy.
In the meantime, allow me to leave you with this most apt conclusion, brought to you by a junior student of my dear friend and colleague Melanie. I quote it verbatim:
In this novel The Great Gatsby, things got crazy but in the end there was an outcome and everyone was okay. The End!