Good luck Mr. Z. And thank you.

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life60 Comments

It’s almost here. The first day of a new school year.

I suppose there is always excitement around this time, especially if you have kids or are otherwise involved in education, but this year for my family is pretty exciting indeed.

After 27 years, Dan is starting a new job.

I’m going to be honest with you: I can’t imagine changing careers at this point in my life. True, as it stands, I’ve been able to make a living, albeit an unpredictable one, doing what I do for about the last 17 years. But the core of what I’ve been doing (graphic design and writing) is what I’ve been doing since about the age of 24. But a complete career change like the one Dan’s embarking on? Cannot even fathom it.

And yet, I do get to witness it. And it’s thrilling. And unknown. And a little wild. And so far, so so good.

And I really do need to say thank you to Dan. All during those 27 years, he was the steady hand of employment. Working day in and day out. Taking so little vacation. Getting called into one of the shops at 1:30 in the morning because the alarms were going off. Spending hoursย guiding new managers, helping them to run stores to his exacting but also warm, nurturing, customer-centered standards. Thank you, Dan.

Thank you, because of you I was able to have this crazy, unpredictable career for the past 17 years. When I didn’t make any money, you were there to make the ends meet. It has not always been a simple solution, but you have always ensured we had what we needed.

And while I was the one who professionally got a lot more of the attention, now it’s your time to shine and I am seriously so proud of you and am so happy to support you.

Not only that, with my mad design and scrapbook skills, we’re gonna make some hella cool teacher shit for your students and rooms in the coming weeks, months and years.

Go Mr. Z! You’re about to change 5th grade lives.


Cathy ZielskeGood luck Mr. Z. And thank you.

60 Comments on “Good luck Mr. Z. And thank you.”

  1. #1

    This former teacher and mom of two is so happy to see him bringing his gifts of warmth and nurturing into the classroom!! Go, Dan!

  2. #2

    Wow! Congrats and good luck Mr. Z!!! I have a 5th grader this year!!! Hope you have a great year!!

  3. #3
    Marilyn T

    Best of luck and a HUGE thank you to your husband as he embarks on his new teaching career! Good teachers are a blessing on our society; and male teachers in grade school doubly so for so many young boys who need role models and mentors.

  4. #4
    Lisa Russo

    So happy for Dan (and you!). Fresh starts are so exciting. And Ava is in 5th grade. I wish Dan was her teacher!

  5. #5

    That is one lucky 5th grade class. Congratulations Mr. Z. Cathy my husband also is in the process of shifting careers from being a CPA to manufacturing pasta sauce, I can relate to the shifting emotions and admiration of career changes.

  6. #8

    Aww! I was a fifth grade teacher! You two will rock their little world! Congrats on the new gig for Dan!

  7. #9

    What a great post from you supporting your husband. As a guy the same age as you I imagine it would be pretty scary to make such a huge career change. Congratulations to Mr. Z for doing it and to you for supporting him! That kind of respect does more for a man than you can imagine!

  8. #10

    Way to go Mr Z! I have goosebumps for you. Also wonderful to read about such a supportive and loving relationship. I also can’t wait to see the bloody awesome teacher shit that you come up with! #teachergoals #whenscrappingandteachingworldscollide #thisishowwedoit

  9. #11
    Glenda Thorne

    Kudos to both of you, such an amazing accomplishment and the support you two have shown throughout all of the changes is a testament to your love and commitment. Wishing I was back in school, especially for grade 5 as I didn’t like my teacher way, way way back then,lol.

  10. #12

    This is great!! I’m sure my 5th grade boy would love to have Mr. Z as his teacher! Male teachers in elementary are rare and usually super popular. Have a great year Mr. Z and I’ll be anxious to see the cool teacher shit! Haha!

  11. #13

    Best of luck to Dan! Those are some lucky 5th graders!

    I admire his courage to change his career path.

  12. #14
    Ginger Watson

    Teaching is the hardest. And sometimes the most rewarding. I am grateful with my whole soul to the men and women doing that essential work. It makes me cry, frankly, thinking of how much teachers give for our kids. And I am moved beyond words that Dan would start a new chapter in his life teaching, when he could’ve chosen something so much easier. It’s a testament to his character, to his commitment, and even to his integrity. Here’s to a great year Mr. Z – you’re going to make a difference in some lives. (There will be that one – girl or boy, who knows – who desperately needs to have a strong, gentle man in their life. You’ll save that one.)

  13. #15

    congrats on your new adventure in 5th grade! It can be wild! Can’t wait to see what Cathy comes up with for your room….thinking that is a perfect combo team!

  14. #16
    Amanda Maddox

    My daughter is in 5th grade this year ~ and it’s her first year for a male teacher. She loves him! Best of luck to your husband and his group of 5th graders. It’s such a great age!

  15. #17

    I realized last night at dinner: my son has only 1 more year of elementary after this. (He’s a 4th grader.) HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!?! Wish he could have Mr. Zielske for a teacher…I bet he’s going to be the rock star of the school!

  16. #18
    Meg Bertapelle

    CONGRATULATIONS Mr. Z!!!!! Best of luck (not that you’ll need it), you’re gonna be AWESOME!!!!!

  17. #24
    Allison Barnes

    How exciting! It takes a special person to be a good teacher! We need more people like Dan! His students will love him!!

  18. #25

    I have started on a slow journey with lots of starts & stops towards a new career but I get so hung up on the fact that I’m not young any more and that I’m starting much later than everyone else, so thank you for sharing Dan’s story as it is one of the ones I use to motivate myself and tell myself it is not too late. It means a great deal.

  19. #26

    I want to thank you for your blog. I started reading 10 years ago or so when I was into scrapbooking and have stayed ever since because I just really like you. I got misty eyed reading this post about Dan. In a few years my husband will retire from active duty in Intelligence for the Air Force and we’ve tossed around ideas for what he could do when he retires. Years ago he thought he would want to stay in Intel, but these days he feels more inclined to pursue something else – but what? I saw the picture of your husband and saw in my mind my own husband standing there, being an example of strength and leadership to future students and then I really started crying. You’re a few years ahead of me in this parenting/life thing and I am grateful to look up to you and your family for your example of love and support to each other. Best of luck to Dan, I’m excited to hear about how it goes!

  20. #27

    Great for Dan!! As a mother of two young boys I think it’s wonderful to have men in teaching – our young boys need male guidance – especially at the earliest ages – 5th grade will be so great for these kids!

  21. #28
    Melissa Hallaron

    Your support for his change and the appreciate for the years of his support in your endeavors is so heartfelt. How awesome to take a leap and make a change. Best of luck to your family!

  22. #30

    Hey! I didn’t even think about all the cool school designs you’re going to rock. This brings a whole new element to your design work. Awesome! Super sweet post today, and big congrats to your man for the new start.

  23. #32

    Congrats and good luck!

    The Enquirer side of my brains is dying to know what sparked this new journey? What was the trigger that said going from running/managing shops all these years to teaching was something to consider? Why 5th grade?

    Come on, enquiring minds are waiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. #33
    Marcie L

    So, so happy for you both! My husband had a contracting company for 20 years until 4 years ago and then ::poof:: he was a middle school woodshop teacher! So I get what you are witnessing, it is a beautiful thing! Go Mr. Z!!!!!

  25. #34

    totally get the thrill and fear of stepping off into an unknown future. last year, i got laid off after 28 years at the same job, with the same people. totally terrifying.

    started a new job this past February, and again, totally terrifying. complete 180 from what i did before – i’m 54. learning new stuff is way super hard.

    sure, i hate it sometimes, i hate being a stumblin’ fool, learning new stuff and not remembering everything. but it’s cool. i’ll get it.

    go, Dan, go.

  26. #35

    I have such great respect and admiration for teachers; my mother was a 7th grade teacher for many years and my youngest daughter just began her 3rd year teaching 2nd graders in an inner city school where she is giving her heart and soul to those kids. My middle child, my only son, was literally “saved” by one of his sophomore teachers. He was a quiet, introvert, and on his way to becoming a loner. We spoke of our worries to this amazing teacher early in the year, and over the next month convinced him to join an after school activity (he got a girl in the class to ask when my son said no to the teacher!) that this teacher was the mentor for. Over the next 3 years of high school my son transformed from a quiet loner type of kid into a confident, outgoing teenager with lots of friends. I give all the credit to this teacher, and my eyes are filling with tears as I type this. Thank you, Dan. You, too, will be a teacher who makes a difference in your students lives. <3

  27. #36

    As a former accountant turned pre-K teacher 3 years ago (in my late-40’s), I congratulate him on making this career change at this stage in life and wish him all the best!! I’m so glad I followed my heart and made my change and I’m sure he’ll feel the same way!!!

  28. #40

    This post gave me all the feels. I love how much you show you care about Dan and his new adventure. My husband is my biggest cheerleader as I enter graduate school at UCLA next week. He’ll be taking over a lot of the parenting duties (carpool, activity schedules) of our young daughters as I pursue my passion and work towards becoming a school social worker. Yay to new adventures! Supporting our partners in following dreams is what marriage is all about. =)

  29. #41
    Carol Thomson

    Absolutely Good Luck, Mr. Z! It is an amazing journey you are beginning.

    After many years of teaching I can say that your sense of humour (and zaniness) will go far in helping you relate to students and have them want to work with you. Cathy and Cole will also help you when discussing planning and adventures with your students. Grade Five students are wonderful, and you will be as well!

  30. #44

    As retired teacher, I can speak 30 years of experience. The beginning of school signals so many new things, new hopes, new schedules, new challenges, and the wonderful smell of crayons, markers, new folders, and new friendships. And it is the relationship part that is the icing on the cake. Days will be hard, tough, exhilarating, and exhausting…but the people you form relationships with are some of the best and long lasting in life.

    Dan is so lucky to be surrounded by his family of love and support. I just know that your entire family is going to enjoy this new chapter in the Z. family.

    My most heartfelt wishes for a wonderful and great first year of teaching.

  31. #46

    Male elementary schools are soooo important in kids lives for many reasons, and for different reasons for boys than for girls. My daughters favorite teacher in elementary school was a cool teacher she called Mr. B. And while I obviously don’t know your husband, it’s a pretty good bet he’s gonna be someone’s favorite real soon. ‘Did you have Mr. Z?’ ‘Ah yeah; he’s cool. Made me like math even.’ ? How many of us can say they changed a kid’s trajectory in life? Very few, and most are teachers.

  32. #47

    I was a kindergarten teacher for 35 years. It was a wonderful life experience, and I can testify how much kids need great role models in their lives. My grand daughter had her first male 5th grade teacher last year, and she loved him. Good luck in this challenging endeavor!

  33. #48

    Dear Mr. Zielske,

    Welcome to the profession! For these last 25 years, I have been teaching. I will not say I loved every moment. That would be horribly misleading. I will say it’s like one, big, challenging, satisfying puzzle. You will start to realize how much the adults you dealt with for all these years really acted a lot like children. Because you have been a parent, you will see things through parent eyes, which makes the parents of your students very lucky to have you. I am also thrilled to see “the underrepresented gender” get another member. Thanks for taking the leap. We need you!

    Dear Mrs. Zielske,

    Bulletin boards are one big scrapbook page. You got this! My husband deserves a medal for dealing with a teacher wife this long. Watch out for his teacher voice.

  34. #49
    Debbie in AZ

    Congratulations, Dan! I, too, changed careers at mid-life (age 50) from government to teaching elementary school. Teaching is a tough, exhausting but rewarding career. You’ll do great!

  35. #50
    Shelley B

    Woo hoo Mr Z. Congrats on starting this new chapter. You have worked so hard for so long, enjoy this!

  36. #51
    SUSAN Ogden

    Those 5th grade kids are so lucky! My son had a male teacher in 5th grade, and it was so, so good for him. I know Mr. Z will rock it.

  37. #52

    Good luck, Mr. Zielske! You will be great. My male 5th grade teacher was one of my very favorites. He read books to us (no idea if there’s still time for such a thing) — A Wrinkle in Time was one of them and Madeleine L’Engle became my favorite author. I remember his wife coming in to do a craft with us at Halloween. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. #52.1
      Cathy Zielske

      You know, my 5th grade teacher was male and also my favorite, Mr. Heidman at Monroe Elementary. He read us a book called “Me and Caleb” which turned me into a person who loved creative writing.

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