No, I hadn't won a race.
I had reached a finish line of sorts. After 20 years of teaching, I have retired.
I don't think I've been in love with teaching for several years. John Marzion, Clint Weishaar, and a lot of great relationships with kids kept me going.
In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to teach kids with special needs and learning disabilities in the city. I typically liked to work with kids who struggled.
So five years ago, I earned my special education license and started looking around for the right school. I found it in Milwaukee College Prep.
I fell in love with the place. Every staff member, from the principal to the security guard and custodian was completely dedicated to working with inner city kids in a positive, academically challenging environment. It was everything I could ask for.
There was only one problem: I wasn't a very good special education teacher! The position required a great deal of discipline work, and a huge amount of paying attention to minute IEP detail, neither of which I was very good at.
I still created some positive relationships with the kids, and a lot of good relationships with the staff. But as my principal wisely said, I had spent 20 years training to ride a bike a certain way, and this job required a different bicycle and a different way of riding.
And I couldn't make the change, I didn't have the skills. So the job became more and more of an emotional struggle since I was trying to fit the proverbial round peg into a square hole. At some point this winter, I knew I was not going to be back next year. And at some point I didn't think I could make it through the year.
So this winter, I sat down to figure out what I might do. I wrote out a job description of what I'd like to do in the bike industry. I wanted to get more people on bikes, I wanted to develop cycling in the city, and help people learn how to ride better. I wanted to support clubs, create a team. I hoped to make a bike shop the hub for cyclocross, riding instruction, and safe commuting. I wanted to work with the Bike Feb, the city of Milwaukee and other communities to help build infrastructure. I hoped to work with kids to get more of them on bikes
I gave the job description to Vince at Ben's Cycles, and he thought it would be a good fit.
So Thursday was my last day at MCP. I got all the IEP and testing finished and felt I could leave early without big guilt.
I will miss the people in my teaching. I will miss the relationships. But I will build new ones.
This is a new chapter in my life. I've always loved bikes. My passion for teaching changed and evolved. Now I get to use my passion for cycling to help others.
It's going to be the start of another adventure!