Doug creamer: I did it
Last Tuesday was my last day of my last year as a full-time school teacher. That’s right, I am officially retired. It is hard to believe, but it’s true. People keep asking me how it feels, and I have to admit, no different than any other school year ending. I think I will really begin to feel it when I don’t have to go back in the fall.
I will admit it was difficult getting out of school this year. I threw away so much stuff. I just kept filling trash cans for days. I found curriculum guides that were over 15 years old. At the end, it became a blur of just getting rid of stuff. I wanted to get out of there on time.
I was determined not to bring tons of stuff home. I brought home plenty, and hope to look through it and get rid of more stuff. Thankfully, I could put much of what I want to keep on a flash drive. The boxes are stacked out of the way, and when we get those hot summer days when I don’t want to be outside, I will go through them.
The faculty at East gave me and another teacher a royal send off. We were roasted, which was great fun, and honored for all we have done. It was a bittersweet time with the faculty. Then they gave us both some very nice gifts. There was cake and lots of hugs and handshakes.
We were given an opportunity to say a few words; you know I wasn’t going to pass that up. I started with the young teachers. I challenged them to find people in their field who were passionate about teaching, people who love their jobs. I encouraged them to draw from them and “steal” their good ideas. Good teachers borrow from those who are better. I reminded them to always keep learning. And then after they had rested, because all teachers are tired in June, to find something to help rekindle the fire to teach next year.
Then I told the whole faculty it was important to laugh at work. We need to have fun while we are teaching. I shared with them a list of things I would not miss about teaching. Then I shared a list of things I would miss. I think the thing I will miss most is having the opportunity to walk down the hall and have a conversation with one of my colleagues. There are some great people at East Davidson, and
will miss them.
I reminded the faculty that we all have to work together to get the job done. There are some students that I can’t reach but others in the faculty can, and vice versa. Students need all the different areas of curriculum if they hope to have a successful life.
I was asked by a colleague how I could boil down 34 years of teaching into one concise statement. It was a challenge but it came to me: I believe it’s all about the students. What I want and think is not important. I might be inconvenienced, but that’s OK. I will be required to go the extra mile. I believe schools exist for the students, not the teachers. In business terms, I would put it this way; schools exist for our customers, not for the employees.
I will miss teaching. It was and is my calling. The public schools were for me a mission field. It was the place God put me to be a light in the darkness. Through the years God give me the opportunity to touch many lives. I believe God puts us where He wants His light to shine. That means I believe God has you where you are to be a beacon of hope to the people around you. He sees you as the best way to reach them. He also needs us to be an encouragement to each other. God needs us; all we have to be is willing and available if we want to be used by God.
I want to encourage you to see yourself as God’s missionary. If you are retired, like me, you still have a sphere of influence, and God can use you. If you are still working, open your eyes to the people around you, many are waiting and hoping God will intervene in their lives. God is planning to use you. We don’t have to travel to be missionaries; there are people around us every day who need the Lord. Make yourself available and see what God can do.
Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org