My ‘Work-Wife’ is Leaving Me!

TSMy “work-wife’ is leaving me.

Yes, you read that correctly.

And even my ‘real-wife’ at home feels sorry for me!

Sharon Connot, a fellow colleague and friend, is finishing up her last week here at Prairiland Jr. High.

When I took on my first full time position here at Prairiland back in the summer of 1998, I was assigned to teach Reading at the Blossom campus where I was to have grades 5-7.  Sharon had recently moved from the high school to come teach at the same campus with me, and she immediately took on the role as my ‘mentor’ teacher.  Every first year teacher needs one of those and I got lucky with her.  I imagine that she may have been partially motivated by the fact her oldest son, Lance was in my 6th grade class that year and it was a way of  staying in the mix. 🙂  Her mother had also passed away that summer as well, and I remember her being a bit on edge with all that on her mind.

Several years later, our district combined the two Jr. High campuses where we merged in to the old high school after the construction of the new high school campus was completed.  Her room was across the hall from me where she taught English and I continued my Reading classes. Two years ago, when Marla, our other English teacher, retired, I made the switch over to English with a little bit of encouragement from Sharon.   I don’t know if she felt a tad guilty for doing that but she made sure to carry me along under wing, once more those first few weeks.

Well, the entire year to be exact.

Sharon can be a bit …meticulous with her planning and such.  She is given to details and organization.  And I quickly became her ‘project’, long-term sort of, to help build some organization in to my own life.   Not one of my strong suits, admittedly.

Her biggest supporter was my wife, Kathy, who after 33 years, still thinks I might someday get there.  She at least still holds on to that hope.  Kathy also knew Sharon had her work cut out for her.  It has been no secret here on campus what a ‘right hand’ Sharon has been for me.  Especially this current year.  My teaching assignment was changed up recently, now teaching both Reading and English and to three grades, 6, 7, and 8th.  Since Sharon had all 7th grade classes, she made sure I had papers run off, lesson plans turned in completed, and just about every other minor detail that demanded attention  taken care of for my 7th graders.

Partnerships work well in many school faculty settings and I would laughingly refer to her as my ‘work wife’.  Earlier in the year, she came in to my room and saw my ‘organized chaos’ and immediately ordered a paper sorter shelf unit for all my papers.  If she wasn’t wanting to dust my desk, she would beg to rearrange furniture.  My furniture in My class.

Then, the unexpected happened.  She wasn’t looking, but another offer in the field of education dropped in her lap.  It was too good an offer for her to pass on and after several weeks of stress and negotiation, things worked out for her to take on this position starting in January.  Which means she is …leaving me.   And Prairiland Jr. High.

Sharon will be terribly missed by so many …students and faculty alike.

What has been comical  to some degree are the repeated questions I am asked by those who know us…wanting to know ‘what will I do without her?’  Kathy herself has asked me that repeatedly.

We shall see.

I couldn’t be any happier for my friend and colleague.  But I too will miss her as well.

Sharon Connot is the genuine embodiment of a school teacher.  I don’t know that I’ve ever known any teacher who was more caring, compassionate, and thorough when it came to teaching kids.  She is the true professional.

She has been a true and devoted ‘Patriot’ all the years she has worked for this district.  The folks at her new assignment are getting a good one.

I wanted to post this tribute to her as I wish her nothing but the best in her new assignment.  Some very fortunate kids are in for a treat.  But woe to anyone who comes across her path that is not ‘organized’.  They will soon learn just what that word means.

Take care dear friend.  It’s been a fun 15 years.