This Thursday will be the last day of school. It is the earliest we have ever gotten out of school before. Usually we don't get out until after Memorial Day. One time, we didn't get out until June 6. How did I ever make it that long? It's been bittersweet lately. Actually, I haven't been constantly thinking "this is my last Monday" etc. What makes me sad is when I have students who say "Are you leaving? I signed up for the class, so I could have you as a teacher." It's a really nice compliment. I had those students as sophomores, and not teaching them next year was one of the reasons that the decision to leave is so hard. I won't miss some personalities, but yet I guess it is like family. You love 'em and you hate 'em. It's strange to think that someone else will be in "my" room.
I've been cleaning my room for two weeks. I hate throwing things away. I'm afraid some day that I might need it. A scrap of an idea. A writing sample. A freewrite. A book. Another teacher who is leaving was making me throw things away. She thinks I'm a packrat, but I'm really not. I love picking up those pieces of papers, old ideas, and it brings me right to a memory. I love to revisit those things. I think we forget so quickly. I guess I'm afraid what it will be like to not be in a high school classroom. I love it so much. But I know that working on this degree has made me a much better teacher. It seems strange that I am getting to be a better teacher and now I am quitting. I feel like a traitor sometimes. A statistic. Teachers only teach for three to five years. I remember my second year when I knew that I could never make it five years. But those experiences, I learned quickly, are learning experiences. I thought that 25 was too old to have character-building moments. You think as you grow older you will know more and life will get easier. If fact, it has been the opposite for me.