Year’s End

My first year of teaching is coming to a close. I am 98% relieved by this, 1% shocked, and 1% baffled.

Out of the sixteen students I’ve taught this year, I can’t say that any will be forgettable. With each child I’ve had moments and stories that I will be sharing intermittently for the rest of my life (like this or this or this).

I cannot wait for the last day of school. Not because I hate teaching or because I dislike these kids, but because this was an unplanned chapter in my life, and it is due to come to a close.

Teaching has been a year long lesson for me in patience, flexibility, compassion, steadiness, and discipline. These are all qualities I thought I had, but which got stretched to their absolute max and which developed to unanticipated levels. I didn’t know I was capable of holding my tongue quite so much as I was forced to do this year. I didn’t dream that I was able to remain so level headed in the face of absolute chaos. I had no conception that patience could be spread so thin.

I also learned other things, like how much teachers value their vacations. Like how to go to sleep at 3am and still be up and at ’em at 6. Like how to put the frustrations and worries of the rest of my life aside when I step into the classroom. Like how to speak to children both as innocent and impressionable humans without treating them like idiots (most of the time). I learned how to let kids resolve things for themselves instead of stepping in every time. I learned that my efforts and energy can only go so far before I have to accept that tomorrow when I have to start over again, it really will be starting over again.

What I’m most amazed by in myself this year is how at the end of each day I could be so very upset by the events of the day and be absolutely ready to quit and never see a child again, and yet when the alarm rings the next morning and I have to go into school and see those little faces, that I would find peace and almost comfort in my classroom and in the (shrieking) voices of sixteen small children.

I didn’t see that coming. It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does – well. That’s something.

So now we have 8 days of classes left of the year. I suppose I will be both happy and sad to say goodbye to these children, just as one is both happy and sad to end a critical chapter of a good book and move on to the unknown in the next.

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What’s up next?

  • my sister’s baby could make an appearance any day
  • I’m hunting for a summer job, which quite frankly gives me flashbacks to high school
  • I’ve been weighing the options for Peace Corps Ukraine and I’m fairly certain that come October, I’ll be saying goodbye for two+ years
  • Six of my good friends are getting married in the next three months, and I’m sure you’ll hear stories of these love stricken events pretty soon
  • aaaand (drumroll…) I think I’m going to give up smoking cigarettes.

But more on all this later.

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