First Day

Today is a strange day for me. A day full of excitement and a little trepidation.

You see, today would have been my first day back to school if I were still teaching. It’s the first time in twenty years that I am not reporting to my first teacher workday, and as all of my former colleagues are reporting for their first day of meetings, setting up classrooms, and catching up after the summer break, I’m sitting here drinking coffee thinking about what I need to do in the studio today. It’s oddly freeing, and little terrifying at the same time. I am on my own now. I am a full-time, self-employed artist. It’s official.

I know it was official when I put in my resignation back in May. I know it was official when I got the letter from the school district confirming my “voluntary separation”. I know it was official when I cleaned out my classroom and packed up my boxes in June, but the last two months have felt like any other summer break that I have had over my 20 year career as an art educator. With all of my local teacher friends heading back to school today, it’s officially official. I am no longer a teacher.

Back in June everyone kept asking if leaving the teaching profession had started to sink in, but even with the last day of school and bringing home boxes of stuff, walking away from a teaching career was somehow still a vagueness. I knew intellectually that I had resigned and that I would not be returning for a 21st year, but all of it still felt like it was somewhere off in the future. The summer was just the summer after another year of teaching, so my last day of school didn’t feel like it was my last day.

Today, however, feels like the first day of a new life, a new journey. I now feel fully the freedom, the possibility, and the uncertainty of chasing my dream. I am looking forward to the adventure.