I woke up this morning at 3:21 am with the startling realization that this is the last Friday I will be waking up to go to school. We do have school next Friday, the last with students for the year, but the school where PM coached the boys basketball team to a championship in February of 2016 before he died in April 2016 has a memorial ceremony each year on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and it brings me comfort to attend, so I’ll be out for that.
In discussions, close colleagues who know of my upcoming change often comment about how it will be different after 27 years of having a school year routine to having a new, or no, routine, but that’s just a part of it. I have been going to school non stop since 1975. School, college, graduate school, work. I may have started teaching in 1995, but I have never known what it feels like to not have August be my New Year’s Eve and the first week of June having a holiday-like vibe. I’ve had bits of dreams of what it would be like to enjoy a gorgeous, chilly autumn morning outside of the cinder block school walls, or to indulge in a book during a rainstorm on my sofa on a weekday, or even to spend time at my parents’ house in the dead of winter without neurotically obsessing over sub plans and grades and the chaos that inevitably occurs after an absence from the classroom.
27 years seems so short and so long at the same time. I don’t feel the change now as much as I think I’ll notice in the fall, but I’m not sad. I’m feeling a sense of sadness for those 6th and 7th graders I’ve come to love who I’ll not have the joy of watching unfold and grow up as they move into my 7th and 8th grade classes, but I’m keeping in touch with them through email and possibly a few volunteer stints at school. I will miss my colleagues most of all, especially because our staff is truly as close-knit as a family, but we’ll still be in touch, too, because I’ve promised to drop by at lunchtime with cookies and to catch up over drinks. I think the biggest change will be to me and the sense of nervous but excited freedom I’ll have without the structure of the school day to pin me down. Time will tell, I’m sure. But I’m looking forward to it.
Forward to my final Friday–