My mood today's been a little off...a little more nostalgic than other days. Why, you ask? Because today's the last day of school. But not here. In Austin, where I used to teach.
The last day of school is a mix of emotions--from JOY that I made it to the end of the year to BITTERSWEET because I have to see off another group of kids who I invested so much in and may never see again. At the end of that last day, after I've dismissed my students for the last time, I sit down at my desk, stare into the empty classroom and am amazed by all that transpired. Some kids read a book without pictures for the first time, some kids discovered double-digit subtraction, and some found that esoteric, big kid word "multiplication" to be as simple as repeated addition. It's a beautiful thing to be able to, finally, after a year of chicken-with-your-head-cut-off behavior, sit back, take a deep breath, and realize you helped make that happen. A natural high like no other satisfaction you can have in life.
So, as I sit here in Mexico, not able to partake in the last day of school, I'm feeling a little nostalgic and sad (although, not so much once I remember the slave-like ins and outs of the job). I'm remembering all the last days of schools, from that first one where I vowed never to teach again, to the most recent, when I was the one saying goodbye to my students and my school. And at the end of each year, I grow more mature and more humbled because I'm just so amazed at the resiliency of children who rise up in the midst of anger, sadness, poverty, and abuse. With that thought, I almost immediately want to be back for another year despite all yearnings all year for the opposite. It's odd how it works that way. You go the entire year wishing it were over, and by the following week, you are looking forward to the next year.
Who knows if teaching in the American classroom will ever come to pass again, but I'm thankful for the unusual course of emotion today. It made for a quasi-last day of school experience, and it's making me curious about how I'll feel on my last day of school here in Mexico. One thing's the same: I'll be happy when it's here. Too bad it doesn't come until July!
My beloved classroom where many a good book was read aloud
3rd Grade Hooligans at Allan Elementary. They all look so sweet and kind here...don't be fooled :)