When I retired from the public schools and went to work in a private Episcopal K-12 school, I had a lot of adjustments to make: 
  • The Principal and the Headmaster actually prayed with me before I was hired.
  • The Headmaster greeted me by my first name on the first day of orientation.
  • They fed us breakfast and lunch every day during orientation.
  • If I needed some assistance with moving furniture in my classroom, I only had to ask once.
  • Every faculty member was there because they genuinely cared about making a difference in the lives of the students.
  • I had my own parking space.
  • We had staff meetings when they were needed, not just because it was Monday.
  • My day is spent actually teaching the children. I have afternoon car duty but I don't have to implement a program that will be forgotten the next year when another new initiative comes along.
I kept thinking somebody was going to pinch me and wake me up from a dream during orientation.This sweet spirited place seemed too good to be true. Once I got the workdays under my belt, it was time to get ready for Meet The Teacher Day. For those of you that are teachers, you know what it is like to build up your reputation in a school over time. I had misgivings about being the "new kid on the block" even though I had taught for thirty-one years. Parents at my old school loved me, I enjoyed my colleagues there, and I had a terrific teacher assistant. I had never worked in a private school before. Would the parents here accept me?

I remember wanting to make a great impression that day so I put on one of my best outfits and, horror upon horrors, high heels. I am a sneaker or flats kinda teacher and only pull out heels on special occasions. Due to the lack of parking on that day, staff was asked to park off campus and take a shuttle bus to school so that parents would have plenty of room for parking. 

My new school is right across the street from my former public school.  I knew of a small local park nearby where I could walk to school and get there a lot quicker so I skipped the bus and walked to my new school. Meet the teacher day went great and wasn't any different in my private school than ones I had experienced in the public schools. I was excited about this new class and the parents appeared very supportive. I was tired by the end of the day and my legs practically bowed out as I trudged back to my car. Those high heels made my feet ache like crazy. 

I had walked into the entrance of the park when a white suburban came flying in and made a u turn facing me. A big guy got out and started running toward me. I hunched down and said "Don't hurt me" and didn't know if I should hit him with my pocketbook or one of those darn shoes that had made my feet throb. He didn't give me time to do either as he came over and gave me a big sweaty hug yelling "MRS. B!!!!" About that time, his mother emerged from the passenger side and I recognized her immediately. He turned out to be a former student who just finished football practice when he spotted me from the main road. We all laughed as I told them that he had scared the living daylights out of me. I couldn't get over how big he was! 

It was such a treat to visit with them for a few minutes. This high school football lineman told me that he had unearthed his Wonder Years book from Kindergarten a few weeks earlier. In the book, there is a special page designated for each month. I post lots of group or individual pictures on each page so that the child will have a memento of his or her kindergarten year. He told me that it had been so much fun looking back over his kindergarten year. It warmed my heart to hear that! At the rate it had been beating when my former student first came charging at me, it needed a little warmth.

I still do a Wonder Years book and would be happy to share pictures with anyone interested!

18 comments

  1. Theresa Milstein // February 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

    Such a funny story! Who would expect the scariest part of the parent-teacher conference night would be AFTER the conference?!

  2. Edie Parrott // February 24, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

    So funny! Can you blog about your kindergarten books one day and show us photos. Sounds interesting! I definitely would like to see what you do. Thanks!

  3. Heather // February 24, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

    Thanks so much for "voting" on my behalf...you are just too sweet.

    My husband is a high school math teacher (did I already tell you that?). He teaches for an alternative school for troubled teens right now, and is so burned-out.

    He has never thought of a private school. Do you recommend it? From the sound of this post, I would say you do. Would love some advice...

  4. Gigi // February 24, 2010 at 8:47 PM  

    Thanks so much for your comment! Although my heart was in my throat when I realized you were a teacher (OMG one of my son's!!!). Actually am not a true Tar Heel (hail from TX) but have been here for a while now and loving it (except for this crazy winter this year!). Loved this post & will make it back for more!

  5. GregoryJ // February 24, 2010 at 8:58 PM  

    Thanks for you visit. I was shocked that a parent stole your purse. You should do a post on that.

  6. VKT // February 24, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

    Theresa,

    We had it during the day...but you are right....lol

  7. VKT // February 24, 2010 at 9:03 PM  

    I would be happy to Edie! I will try and take some pictures of one....how's that?

  8. VKT // February 24, 2010 at 9:05 PM  

    Heather,

    It doesn't pay as much as the public schools (its not that far off though) but the other benefits certainly outweigh that factor.

    I would encourage him to check it out for sure!

  9. VKT // February 24, 2010 at 9:07 PM  

    Lol....you sweet little transplanted Texan...no worries at all about this teacher....I enjoyed your blog.

  10. VKT // February 24, 2010 at 9:08 PM  

    That is a great idea Gregory...although it was a bit of a nightmare to go through....

    affadavits of forgery

    calls from collectors


    sheesh

  11. Bernie // February 25, 2010 at 12:33 AM  

    You sound like such a wonderful teacher, the children are blessed to have you......:-) Hugs

  12. VKT // February 25, 2010 at 6:57 AM  

    I am the one blessed to have them Bernie!

  13. Beth Chapman // February 25, 2010 at 6:49 PM  

    So often we talk about light, energy and what we give to others. There has to be another adjective for teachers and people like yourself. What a gift, what hope, what stamina in those heels!!!

  14. VKT // February 25, 2010 at 10:39 PM  

    What a sweet comment Beth! Thanks!

  15. ellen // February 26, 2010 at 12:54 AM  

    This is such a fun story, yo uwrite it so well. And yes, I am interested in your pictures. Maybe you can post them in a page on your site. That would be fun to see them!

    have a great weekend!
    Ellen
    www.elleninamerika.com

  16. gayle // February 26, 2010 at 9:55 PM  

    Didn't know you were in NC? Can I come work at your school? I am a teacher assistant!!:)

  17. VKT // February 27, 2010 at 12:43 AM  

    You too sweet Ellen! Better than me posting them, you should come to NC for a visit sometime!

  18. VKT // February 27, 2010 at 12:45 AM  

    Gayle,

    If you came, you would never want to leave! My assistant moved to Germany this past summer and so I recruited a parent of a former student. She loves it! I have no doubt you would to!