Yesterday I went back to visit my old school. Every year they put on a pancake breakfast the day before Thanksgiving, so I thought it would be a good time to visit since I wouldn't be interrupting any important lessons. As I pulled into the driveway and saw the lights illuminating the windows of my old classroom, a small pang nagged at my heart. And despite the fact that I briefly met the teacher who now resides in my old classroom, I couldn't bring myself to go inside. She said to me, "Oh! You're Mrs. Shaum! The kids are always telling me I don't have enough books in here."
As I was going down the stairs from my old classroom, a couple of 8th graders were going up the stairs and one of them said to the other, "I think the other 8th graders are in Mrs. Shaum's room." I smiled at the student's blunder and said to her, "I'm glad to know it's still my room to you even though I'm not here anymore."
Catching up with old coworkers and talking books with former students made me realize even more how much I miss being in the classroom every day. But as much as I miss it, I also know that the path my life has currently taken is the right one. Seven years of an 84-mile-a-day commute is just too much. I do not regret my decision to leave my old school, but I am content and thankful for the people and experiences that led me to this moment to pause and reflect on the teacher I was and the one I am still becoming.
As I was leaving church with the 8th graders yesterday, one of them said to me, "Mrs. Shaum, the next time you come visit, you should bring some of that maple bacon ice cream you made. That was so good."
Bacon and books. It seems like that's what I'll be remembered for by my former students. I think I'll take it. :)