Wednesday, June 06, 2007

but i'm not ready to say good-bye yet :: and so the packing begins

Two of my favorite people at This High School, Emily and Roshelle, came to help me pack up my classroom. It is day one of two serious packing afternoons--this very successful, but leaving the room not exam-compatible (good thing we have something like an hour and a half before exams begin tomorrow morning). There are maybe ten boxes in a row on student desks, each with a label: Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, English 9 (to Local HS), English 9 Extra, Creative Writing, Drama (for summer class), Drama (This High School only), Media Unit, Odyssey, Staff Development, Desk Supplies, etc. Lesson plans, fluttering into the cardboard boxes as if those hours were nothing.

I wasn't sure if packing alone or packing with company would be better. Having Emily and Roshelle there was wonderful, but it made me more sad. I wanted to think only of the future--of Local High School and the lovely classroom I saw yesterday (I met with the person whose classes I will be taking next year and saw this room with quite a bit more charm, which isn't hard, considering This High School feels much like teaching in a hotel room, with all the beige and plastic). But then I remembered how Roshelle and I would sit next to each other, laptop to laptop, ordering Green Mill and discussing what types of questions to put on the exam. I remembered the first time I met Emily, touring the auditorium before the cushy chairs were installed, while everything was sawdust and we had to wear hard hats. Roshelle took down my bulletin board, which read "Welcome [Mascot]s!" and she said she might even cry, thinking about how long I spent putting that together.

She offered for me to keep things I ought to throw away, and Emily said: NO, she doesn't need any more to take home with her (thank you for that). So I explained to Roshelle how I take pictures of the things I'll miss and make a little memorial in my blog: the shoe, the cup. So before she ripped things down, I snapped a few pictures, and as I look back, I wish I took more. You can see the faded bulletin board, the sheet of paper I stapled up for my creative writing kids (and eventually, curious English-9 kids) to write favorite and detested words up on, where my students wrote up the nickname they gave me (on the windows with overhead markers, with markers for my walls), views from the auditorium (inside and out).

There's so much we take for granted--so much in our everyday lives we think we'll remember, but I'll never see the inside of some of these places in exactly this way... So in the next two days, more pictures, collected, and please be patient, as I find a thousand ways to say good-bye to this place.

LORD, one of my best friends is one of my colleagues. How often does that happen? Only two more days. I feel so ridiculous, as if you, dear readers, can see me crying as I write this. How to express this kind of sadness and vulnerability in a blog? I don't think it's possible. All I know is that the sole thing that makes me so mournful of my departing is these people, not just Emily, not just Roshelle, but so many others, the people that made me think, as this teacher whose job I am taking talked of how wonderful his department is, how supportive: "Not as much as my department." I have some pretty terrific colleagues.

I went into this job thinking I'd retire from it. So many things changed in these two years--not just the budget cuts--but also me. I couldn't have done it much longer, really. But can't I just take some of these people with me?


Sacred Suzie said...

Wow, that's a real tribute to the place you put so much energy into! Thank you for sharing it with us.

eireann said...

I know the teacher-leaving-school feeling. It's a big grief. What a sweet memory you'll have of your first teaching job!!


tongue in cheek said...

The journey ahead awaits you with open arms. The journey behind you will be there to lean on.

Good Luck!