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My Last Day…

If you follow my blog posts, most of you know by now that I made the decision to leave teaching. 

If you missed the post, here is a quick recap…I no longer can continue with the craziness of my blog AND teaching.  My blog is a little different than most teacher bloggers.  Not only am I creating products that you can purchase, but I am also staging rooms.  In all honesty, that is the hardest part.  It is extremely labor intensive!  There is so much involved in creating a classroom and having it ready by a deadline for my photographer.  In addition, shopping for the photo shoots takes a lot of time as well.  Towards the end of the school year, I felt like I was drowning.  I was trying to do custom orders, create, stage, shop, blog, teach during the day, AND raise three children.  I knew I had to make a choice and decided to resign from my teaching position.

So many people asked me if I was excited.  I WAS excited to have a balanced life.  I WAS excited to be doing what I love full time.  I WAS excited to leave all of the yucky stuff that goes with teaching. 

Despite having so many things to be excited about, I was still sad.  Sad about the children that I was going to leave.  I was sad for the parents that had their hearts set on having me for the child’s teacher next year.  Thoughts of my very first classroom continued to flood my mind.  I could remember how BAD I wanted to be a teacher and how excited I was to walk into my very own classroom for the first time.  I was living my dream for the last 14 years.

As the last day approached, I found myself becoming more emotional.  I didn’t want to say goodbye.  I had thoughts of going back to my “old” life and telling everyone that I changed my mind.  My old life seemed so easy compared to what I was planning to do.  I was leaving a secure and stable job for the unknown. 

I woke up on the last day and gave myself a little pep talk and decided that I would NOT cry.  I planned to enjoy myself and my last day with my students. 

I was doing great and felt happy all morning long until…the awards ceremony.  UGH!!!  At the end of the ceremony, my principal stood before a packed gymnasium with parents, staff, and students in attendance.  At the end, she stood behind the podium and announced that I was leaving.  She had trouble getting the words out.  She stood for a moment trying to regain her composure.  As I took a quick glance around the room, I noticed some of my favorite parents crying, former students were crying, and some of the staff were crying. 


I was done.  I cried all day long.  As the bell rang to dismiss the children, I cried walking to the buses.  As I waved goodbye to the students, I cried.  I was in mourning.

I walked back in and grabbed my belongings getting ready to walk out for the last time. Do you remember how my room looked at the beginning of the school year?



Well, this is what it looked like when I left…


Sad, huh?

Luckily, I had my very humorous and dramatic son with me.  He staged the entire walking out like we were in a movie scene, music and all.

He started to play some Natalie Merchant song that he thought would capture the moment.  We would walk a few steps (while the music was playing) and he make me turn around and look.  He coached me on the facial expression that I was suppose to have.  We laughed and laughed.  I needed some fun!

The very next day, I had a huge teacher garage sale and sold EVERYTHING!  I can’t go back, I don’t have anything, right?

Surprisingly, I feel great now.  I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders.  I am ecstatic about starting my new life and look forward to everything Schoolgirl Style can become!  I am now living my NEW dream.  Change is always hard, but sometimes it is necessary.

transition quote

This quote says it all…

Teaching was a stepping stone to what I was really suppose to do with my life.  Everything seems so clear to me and life makes sense. I feel happy and content.

Great things ahead!





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  1. Stacy says

    You may have “closed shop” on one classroom, but the impact you have had on so many others is endless. Congratulations on a job well done and much success in the future!

  2. Christi Fultz says

    Bless your heart Melanie! Looking at your empty room reminds me of my first day teaching years ago. You’re giving someone else a chance to move in and live their dream while you take off with your new one. I’m excited to see where it takes you.

    Christi ツ
    Ms. Fultz’s Corner

  3. Nicole says

    Loved this post! I am transferring schools next year and our awards ceremony is tomorrow. Just like you, I’m looking forward to the future, but all the good things about the past makes me sad. Thanks for the inspiration that I can get through the day, and that it’s ok to cry 🙂

  4. Crystal @Mrs_P_teaches says

    I have a change in schools coming up this year. I have 12 days left with my students, and I feel that trepidation as I start to wonder if this change is the right thing. I know it is, and have been waiting for it all year.
    Thank you for being so honest and sharing what you are going through. Your creative designs are inspiring and you have left a beautiful clean ‘canvas’ for another teacher to work with in your old room.
    On to your new and fabulous creation!
    You rock!

  5. vera says

    What a great post. I am transitioning too..I’m moving from Austin (my home for 6 years) to Boston. I will still be teaching but it is tough to leave behind so many friend, families and memories. I am looking forward to a new year and a new start in a new place. I just wanted to comment that before I read that you were leaving the classroom I was already inspired by you. Your rainbow connection themed classroom is the inspiration for my new classroom at my new school. I hope that my room looks 1/2 as beautiful as the one you created. Thank you for inspiring me and good luck on your new adventure!

  6. Stacey R. says

    I know exactly how you feel. I left my job, my students, former parents, parents who were certain their children were going to have me as their teacher, co-workers etc. behind to follow my husband in a move to Texas. It’s like leaving members of your family. My heart was broken and I felt so very sad.

    Sending you HUGS!

  7. Patti says

    As I laid here reading your blog, I’m had to try not to let my husband know about the lump in my throat and tears rolling down my cheeks… trying to hold back the sniffles. I am both happy and sad for you Melanie. I can imagine how that last day must have been. I’ve walked out of that classroom one last time so many times, as you know with all of our moves; only it was likely that I’d be setting up shop again soon. What I can’t identify with is being so talented to be able to go from one career in which I clealrly excel, to another career in which I excel. You will definitely be missed in the classroom but it is obvious that you will continue to impact children’s lives by inspiring their teachers to create beautiful, functional, upbeat and motivational classrooms! The first time I saw photos of your home at Christmstime, I could see your passion and talent for design and decorating and wondered why you weren’t doing it professionally. Well, I guess I wonder no longer and can only wish you the best of luck in this next chapter of you life!

  8. Tabetha says

    If you ever doubt your decision, just look back at the “after” photo. I literally gasped. Your designs are brilliant; I am so very inspired by you. Congrats to you!!

  9. Pam says

    Oh my goodness. Reading your post reminds me exactly of myself last year when I left teaching to go into administration. I was SO sad I felt like I was in mourning. And, I think I was! I still miss teaching…and have decided that administration is not all I hoped it would be. It will get easier though. But I do believe that for those that are true teachers, it never leaves them all the way. I am sure you will find ways to keep teaching in some fashion (no pun, lol). We do love your blog!

  10. Brandi West says

    I am sad for you, too, to leave the classroom. The children are the most special part of teaching and it is why teachers teach and put every ounce of energy, love, passion, creativity and dedication into their work. It is why they spend countless dollars out of their own pocket so that their students have a positive learning environment in which to thrive. And that is why, as someone said, “I remember her 50 years later” in his 6 Word Essay about what it means to be a great teacher in the Student’s First 6 Word Essay contest held earlier this year. You, Melanie, will be remembered by so many students for the rest of their lives. Now onto fun things in your life that you have already worked so hard to build for yourself! You have created a future that is so full of opportunities. 🙂

  11. e'lisa says

    Why am I crying?! LOL I am so proud of you Melanie for being brave. A big change like this takes a lot of courage, and I know you have so many wonderful things ahead. You are an inspiration to me, and many others. Cheers to you and all the different types of happy that is about to come!

  12. Carrie W says

    You are a strong person for going after your dream and accomplishing it. I too, have those same feelings but haven’t been as successful as you have been with your business. Please realize you are very fortunate in opportunities! Good luck to you and I look forward to following you and your new ventures!

  13. Angela says

    Congratulations! I am so excited to see more and more of Schoolgirl Style. I just recently discovered your blog but I always get excited when a new post shows up in my inbox. All of the classrooms are so inspiring and cheerful!

  14. Amanda Steinacher says

    What a touching post! I can’t imagine leaving teaching and selling ALL my stuff. Wow! Change is good! Best wishes!

  15. Tina Crofts says

    YOU are still impacting my students because of your AWESOMENESS!!! Many kids across this country (and beyond??) will be touched because of your hard work and dedication to helping teachers. I am so glad you are happy and content! I will keep praying for you.

  16. Anne T says

    Congratulations on fulfilling your dream! I’ve been so inpired by you for several months. I’m a new follower and have posted your button to my blog:)

  17. The Reading Buddies says

    Oh my goodness! When I saw the before and after picture of your classroom I literally gasped. YOu have inspired many teachers in my room to do it with “school girl style”.

    Keep it up!
    Kelly and Damien
    The Reading Buddies

  18. Mailee Lor says

    I am so sad to hear that you are leaving teaching behind, but so excited for your new journey. I can’t imagine leaving my classroom yet. I’ve loved your blog the moment I ran into it. Your creations are sooo inspiring. I’ve spent hours looking through all of your designs againg and again! You are so creatively talented at what you do. I look forward to more inspiration from you. Thank you.

  19. Ashley says


    I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and I am constantly inspired by your passion for teaching and your beautiful classroom designs. It is inspiring to see someone following their dreams – even when it leads them down unexpected paths. I am excited to see your new ideas and posts on your blog – I am now thinking about my entire classroom setup in a different way thanks to you!

    Best wishes on your new adventure!


  20. Heidi says

    Wow! What a difference! I hope the next teacher will bring just as much love and care into your old room as you did.

    PS What a great quote!

  21. cheri says

    hi melanie~~ you do such a beautiful job decorating the classrooms!!! i am really jealous of your talents as i am a tiny bit ocd about how “cute” my kindergarten classroom looks! i have had an ocean theme for years because to be honest i just can’t imagine changing to anything i would like better~~ like you though, after 20 years of teaching i think sometimes i would like to take my life in a different direction but the unknown scares me to death! thanks for your beautiful inspirations and encouraging words!

  22. Kim says

    I have had THE toughest year and though I WILL be returning to my school . . . I have lost my principal, my dad, and my assistant — on top of adjusting to new standards, a difficult group of children and on and on and on.
    SO my point is that your site, and in particular the beautiful “BIRDS” classroom has driven me to reinvent myself, my classroom and begin anew. I am excited to create such a peaceful, calm and lovely place where I WANT to spend my time, since I spend so much time in it. I have found and ordered all kinds of fun things to replicate the incredible atmosphere from your photographs. My fear is that I’ll love your new stuff too much and want to change!!!!!! Anyway, good luck with your new endeavor — I think it’s a wonderful thing to dive into your creativity and share it with others!

    • SchoolgirlStyle says

      Kim, thank you so much for the heartfelt email. I read it over and over and could feel the emotion in your words. I am hoping that your classroom will give you the sense of calm and peace that you need in your life right now. The bird theme represents life and birds are considered messengers from heaven. This will be fitting for you with the loss of your father this last year. I hope it inspires you the way it did me! You are in my thoughts, my dear.

  23. Kerry Milner says

    Melanie, You are a very talented and creative person!! I am so glad I found your web-site!!! Thank you for all of your time and effort!! Good luck to you in the future, no doubt you will do well!!!!

  24. Melissa says

    I just started following your blog and was shocked to read that you resigned from teaching. But, I am shocked in a good way…you have no idea the admiration i have for you. I could not believe your dedication to teaching, I fell in love with your themes and STYLE. And now you have taken the leap to pursue this full time…I can only dream of such an ambition. Good for you to realize your dreams and not be afraid to pursue them. I wish you the best and hope to purchase your items soon.

  25. Cathy R says

    I think your classroom looks amazing! I love how you made the tree and would like to know how you did it!

  26. Jeniffer B says

    This is such a peaceful and beautiful theme! You are an inspiration to teachers and to me. You’ve helped me realized not to just accept what we are given from the school, but to create an environment for our students, parents, and ourselves that we will enjoy coming to and working in. “A HOME AWAY FROM HOME” I am so excited to start on the Primary Apple Theme!! I know I’ve said it already, but I can’t wait to decorate! I was looking in the pictures for this theme and on your wall to the right you have what looks like to me picture frames with sheet protectors. Not sure, just guessing. I love these!! I think they would be great for displaying student work. I was wondering how you created them or if you have a template for the frame? Thank you so much for your wonderful inspirations and STYLE!!

  27. Melissa, Ms. M says

    So I’m finally catching up on all my fav blogs and yes yours is one of them. I took two months always from my blog, from creating custom lesson plan templates and from reading other blogs completly. I couldn’t do it anymore. Drowning is exactly the right word.

    Reading your email made me sad, it made me feel what you were feeling, it almost made me cry right along with you. I’m sad your leaving the profession because your obviously so spectacular that it must be a huge blow for your school. HOWEVER, I am glad you were able to choose something that you have as strong a passion for as you did teaching.

    Yes you inspire and you help breath life into others who as you said tired alone and drained. Thank you for continuing to inspire me!

    I do want to say sorry for addit to your pile of work I sent an email about a surf/ dots on chocolate theme. I didn’t mean to ass to your huge pile of work. Feel free to table it or ignore it.

    Fellow blogger
    Ms. M

  28. Shanell Lee says

    That is awesome! I’m your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you get a chance. Calling Plays in 2nd Grade.
    Thanks, Shanell

  29. Kare says

    Can you explain the photo frames on your wall? I have been trying to find them separate in your blog and online and cant. They look amazing and I want to make some like them. Any tips or info would be great!!

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