What’s a six-letter word that means to withdraw from action; to withdraw from one’s position or occupation? Well, the latter is true, but I certainly won’t be withdrawing from action!
Since my daughter has finally made it Facebook official, I can also make my
announcement official: I’m retiring from SIUE to accept a new position: full-time Grandma to my four grandchildren! You read that right…four grandchildren! Baby J is due to arrive Dec. 8. So as I said, I am certainly not withdrawing from action. On the contrary, I will be quite busy!
As much as I look forward to spending more time with these four adorable redheads (I’m guessing No. 4 will have red hair too), I will miss the interaction with you, my students, aka my other 2,000+ kids!
Many of you probably heard me say, “I was a mom long before I was ever a teacher!” That was always evident in my teaching philosophy. As a parent, two minutes past curfew suffered the same consequences for my daughters as 30 minutes past curfew. As one of my students, you knew that two minutes past an assignment deadline suffered the same consequences as 30 minutes past that deadline.
I always believed there were lessons to be learned that did not come from a textbook, but they were just as important. I never felt like I was doing you any favors by not teaching those lessons. They weren’t always easy for me to enforce or easy for you to accept, but I was confident that if you did in fact learn them, it would make you more successful in your careers.
But neither parenting nor teaching is just about lessons learned or rule enforcement. My teaching philosophy in and out of the classroom was to nurture your desire to grow as young professionals by modeling the value of commitment, high ethical standards, compassion toward others and a personal desire to always go “above and beyond” in all you were tasked to do. I made an effort to communicate that message at the beginning of every class. The work expected of you was no more than I expected of myself. If you were willing to put in the effort, you knew I would be right there in the trenches with you…and in the trenches we were…especially in those writing classes!
While in those trenches, I had the opportunity to have some powerful conversations with some of you. I laughed with you, cried with you…oh yes, and argued with you! It’s the life of a parent–whether it is with two or 2,000! I likened my role in and outside the classroom as that of the “parent” at the dinner table. I was not there to do all the talking. On the contrary, I was there to facilitate discussion from all members of the “family.”
And family is what many of you have become to me. I am thankful for Facebook as it will allow me to stay connected with you. I can continue to celebrate your successes and offer encouragement if you are facing adversity. So please know, my support does not end with my retirement. Once a parent, always a parent; once a teacher, always a teacher. I just view this as the ultimate “empty nest!”
I’ve enjoyed the past 15 years at SIUE as both a student and faculty member in the Applied Communication Studies Department. The friendships I have formed with colleagues and students have had a tremendous impact on my life, and I hope they will continue to be a part of my life going forward.
Now, as always…pull up a chair and let’s talk!