Today we wished our school Social Worker a happy retirement. She has been in education for 42 years in both public and private, in two states, and both in the United States and Australia. She had a wealth of knowledge to offer. While we did not always agree, we always worked for the kids.
Kathy was one of the few people who worked with me and communicated with me during my first year. I was more on an island that year than at any other time in my career. I was frequently working with her because she was heading the CST and I had several students that fell into her domain. She never judged me, she never downplayed what I was doing. She was an educator. Not just for kids, but for me as well. She guided me through a few difficult times and when thinking about it, she was the one that reminded me that I was not totally crazy. That what I was doing was working, but that it would take time. Realistically, it would take time for both the kids and myself. She supported me when I questioned an outside behavioral specialist that was brought in (in large part for one of my students) so that I was not standing out against what we were paying him to tell us on my own.
I had never thought about how important she was to both me and the school. She was just a part of it. A part of the all the good things that we did in our school. Her presence will be felt in greatest force next year. Not by what she does, but by what she is no longer available to do each day. There will be a void in our school where Kathy once roamed. I celebrate her well earned retirement, and I approach tomorrow with a new perspective on how the importance of what we do to value the people around us.