As one long prepared, and graced with courage, / say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.Today I announced to my principal that I will be retiring at the end of the school year. It was a surprisingly emotional day for me. But, like Anthony, it is one I have long prepared for. I just think the saying goodbye part will be the most difficult. It almost seems like the library is Alexandria and the library I knew is leaving, because things have changed a lot the past two years with the advent of one-on-one iPads for every student. Few students come to the library to check out books and even fewer teachers come to the library for research. More and more of my job has become about technology management, a role I have never fully embraced.
...As one long prepared and grace with courage, / as it is right for you who were given this kind of city, / go firmly to the window / and listen with deep emotion...I really struggled with my decision if this was the right time to retire or not. Everyone tells me I am so young. 60. But I wanted to retire when I still have energy to get out and travel, to play with my grandson (due on September 7th) and to visit my daughter in New York. It felt like the decision to leave was also in part because I want to regain better health for myself. But still I struggled with the decision. I've worked in education for 37 years, how will I know how to do anything else? But, as Mary Oliver, in the opening lines of her poem "The Journey," says,
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,...And in her poem, "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches," Mary Oliver asks,
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away / from where you are, to look for your soul?So, today I began by announcing my retirement. And like Anthony I stand at the window listening to music, thinking about all I will be missing and yet all I have gained---"your final delectation" and,
...say goodbye to her, the Alexandria you are losing.My announcement to the student body of the school will be through the display case. Books representing my favorites from the past twelve years flank the notice: "Mrs. Bennett is retiring!"