Today is the first day of school. It is also the first time in 17 years that I will not be starting the day in front of a class full of high school seniors.
I have mixed emotions.
Even though I have been working through the summer as a full-time financial planner, today is the first time it has really hit me that I will no longer be teaching in the classroom. I knew it would be weird as school started but I guess it is natural to be grieving a bit.
The first day has a special energy to it. I am imagining myself in my classroom teaching my first lesson to a group not quite ready to be there. My goal is to have them say, “Econ may not be that bad after all!” and have them understand why studying economics is important. You put yourself out there in front of 30 students six times throughout the day. They get a chance to know you for the first time and you get to begin the process of getting to know them. Each class period has their own unique personality. It will evolve over time but you begin to see glimpses of what it will be that first day.
I loved teaching.
I loved the challenge of getting students to enjoy economics.
I enjoyed getting to know all of my students on a personal level.
I cherished the bond of friendships with my teaching colleagues.
I definitely loved the chance to help around 300 high school seniors each year learn the knowledge and skills needed to become financially successful in this world we live in. This was my passion.
That is why it was a tough decision to make. But I had a second passion as well.
As a financial planner, I am still teaching. I teach individuals and couples in an intimate setting as I walk with them on their financial journey. I have even had the opportunity to teach other teachers about their financial opportunities at a couple of conferences and during a 2-day class. I hope to do more of this.
I have no regrets. This job is awesome too!
Just yesterday, I was at a coffee shop working, when someone came up and said hello. It happened to be a former student of mine who graduated about ten years ago. He has gone through some tough times over the years and is beginning to turn his life around. Because of this past, his finances are a mess.
In about 30 minutes I was able to hear his story and give him some quick thoughts on a few next steps he can take to move forward toward a stronger financial footing. I gave him some resources to check out on his own to help him along the way. We agreed to stay in touch.
I also think about the impact I have had on the clients I have worked with over the 4 years I have done this part-time. Just like teaching, the ability to make a difference in people’s lives is tremendous.
But I will definitely miss being a classroom teacher.
Thank you teachers and others who work in our schools for doing your best each day to make a difference for your students and our future. Have a great year!