Wednesday, June 15, 2011

School's Out for the Summer!

I sit here in my classroom, the only sounds being those of the guys erecting the scaffolding on the church across the street and the quiet hiss of the small fan under my desk.  My big kids have been gone, graduated, done for the past week, and the kids down the hall are contained in their excitement as they wait for the same sound as I - that of the final bell which will bring to a close the 2010-2011 academic year.

It's a different ending to a year in that one of my best work friends will enter retirement in the 35 minutes or so that we have to go.  Although it's never easy, I've gotten accustomed to saying goodbye to the kids as they graduate, knowing even that some of them I'll likely never see again.  Bidding that final farewell to a respected and beloved colleage, though, isn't something that's happened enough times for me to have gotten used to it.  There's a sadness in me in knowing that when I get here in August to set things up she won't be around, and that when I hear that first bell which will begin the next school year she won't be here any more.  Her replacement might be a great person, but it will take me some time to warm up - until familiarity builds and mutual respect is earned.

This empty room almost feels haunted, as if the sprits of the kids who've passed through here remain.  They're not tangible presences, but I feel them around me nonetheless in the memories they gave to me in sharing their lives with me this past year.  I can look up and remember where each of them sat, and as my gaze moves from one desk to another, so do my thoughts in recounting the many memorable moments that happened here.  They were a lively class, full of ambition, and zeal.  They loved each other, and me, and no matter how lousy a morning any one of us had awakened to, getting here and being together somehow eased the burden.  This is the last career I'd ever imagined, as a child, that I'd make my own, and although an occasional daydream pictures me doing something that would have earned me a lot more money through the years, there's not another thing that I can imagine myself doing now that would give me the same fulfillment I feel in doing this.

Outside these windows the sun is shining, beckoning me to come outside and play.  I will!  Not long from now I'll mount my trusty steed, Piaggio, and the breeze on my face will feel totally different than it did when I arrived this morning.  It will be that unique sense of freedom itself blowing under my helmet and through my shirtsleeves, and I'll want to shout "Yippie!" to everyone I pass as I make the ride back to the house to change into play clothes.  

And though I yearn for the freedom that is now only minutes away, I know that in only a few weeks I'll feel the need to be back here.  I know full well that in July I'll be here long before I need to - that I'll come up to this very room to sit at this desk and just soak up what I can of the spirits which linger.  Likewise I know that when I finally need to return in late August for that first bell, they'll nearly have to drag me up here kicking and screaming because I won't want to give up the freedom.  It's the enigma of doing something you love doing, but loving doing nothing nearly as much.

Goodbye, school.  Helloooooooo, summer!

1 comment:

irondad said...

A lot of life is bittersweet, isn't it?

I really like the wall hangings, by the way. Gives the place a great feel.