It's never easy, to be honest, I don't like it.  I haven't ever met anyone who anticipates changes without any trepidation, and if you happen to be one - I applaud you.  For me, I falter between being exciting about change and then resisting it depending on my my mood.

Since moving to South Carolina, I have had limited big changes - grade level change to 2nd in 2006 at Robert E. Cashion Elementary and then moving to Tigerville to teach 5th grade.  Other than that, the changes have been minor - until this week, but let me back track for a minute before we get to the point of this entire post.

In December, Regina, my principal at Tigerville, called an impromptu faculty meeting for a Friday afternoon.  By the time 3:00 rolled around, everyone in the building knew something was going on, we just weren't sure what it was.  In the meeting, Regina and Ann, our Instructional Coach, announced their resignation from Tigerville.  The announcement tore the entire staff out of the frame.  Most of us were shocked.  We hated to lose both of these fantastic ladies because of the environment they had helped to create over the last 13 years.  I went home that evening shocked myself, but also with my wheels turning.  Was this the moment that I needed to push me in a different direction or actively seek out changes for myself?  As a result, in February, I went on a "beach" vacation that actually was a ruse.  While I did stop at the beach, I was seeking out TAP schools to see if I wanted to become involved in that program. Unfortunately, I did not see one that was a match for me. So, I came back to Tigerville content.

Time went by and about 3 weeks ago, my dear friend, Laura, whom I teach 5th grade with, announced to us that she was leaving to take a position at a charter school.  I was more prepared for that move than any other.  From day one, Laura had always said that she would stay until her son moved out of 5th grade, and then she would play it by ear.  She is going back to what she has loved for a LONG time - middle school, and I really am thrilled for her.  But this announcement opened my eyes to possibilities.

Knowing that our Instructional Coach was leaving and Laura (the most obvious replacement) was leaving, I began to picture myself in that role.  I began to get excited, ask questions, pick Ann and Regina's brain, etc.  I wrapped my mind around the possibility.  However, 2 weeks ago, it didn't feel right.  I didn't think that I could do the job in a building that I had worked so hard to build relationships in.  I didn't want to jeopardize those friendships.

One email changed things for me.  One email to AJ Whittenberg Elementary.  One positive email response from a principal.  One email led to one visit.  In that visit, I discovered I was wanted in this new school, it was suited for me.  It was innovative and was dripping in technology that made my heart go pitter patter - whose wouldn't when you discover that your students will be given laptops. Laptops they can take home!  But, I took away the shiny wrapping paper of technology and really looked hard at this decision.

After a week of mulling it over, I had an interview on Thursday evening with the 2nd grade team at AJW.  It went extremely well and I felt really good about everything that was said on both sides of the table.  So, when I was offered the position I accepted it - immediately.  That was yesterday.

Today, I cried.  Today, I had to tell people about the change and watch their faces and feel their tears.  Even though I sought this out and chose to leave, it was hard  impossible!  I did fine until Maria came to visit and told me how much she thought of me as a teacher. She was followed by others - Tina, Kami, Lisa, Rhonda, Cherie, Natalie, Jacci, Sheryl - and Deb.  Oh my sweet Deb!  No one can script a goodbye.  Lunch time came and Ann said her quick goodbye - the rest of the hall was empty - so tears came fast.  I went to my room to finish packing and cried with the door closed in the dark.  Cheney came and we loaded 18 rubbermaid totes and countless baskets, organizers, etc. into 2 cars.  All that was left to do was to check-out and have a final evaluation with Regina.  I saved goodbyes for later.  Instead, she came and hugged me and cried - took my goals for later. And then the dreaded goodbye of the MOST amazing team I've ever had the opportunity to teach with.

Laura and Santana have been a sister and a work husband for the last 4 years.  Not one argument, raised voice, moment of frustration - nothing, nada, zilch!  Instead it's been 4 years of wedded bliss, laughter, costumes, field trips and other exciting adventures.  I wouldn't go to Washington, DC without them or Dollywood.  I promise I'll never dress as a nerd without the two of them.  The goodbye was quick, but teary. Afterward, I drove to AJ Whittenberg, unloaded the car and then drove back to Tigerville for one final farewell (but not really, I have to go back on Monday). The 2nd goodbye was much easier.

Change is hard for everyone, even those who seek it out.  Tigerville will always be my home.  It was the place I discovered who I was as a teacher and who I wanted to be.  I'll forever be indebted to Regina, Ann, Cherie, and Santana for taking a chance on me.  But, I look forward to what lies ahead on this great new adventure.