I smile - I am happy for her. As I wait to meet with my Principal for the last time, I help her move the last of the books on rickety shelves onto the counters, in preparation for the mass exodus of classroom furniture into the hallway, as floors and counters and furniture are sprayed free of this school year's lingering dust, crumbs, and pencil marks.
Meanwhile, I have a few lingering items to move into my 4-door Mazda, including a rocking chair (crammed in, just barely a fit) that I plan on re-doing this summer out back behind my apartment building. I have packed up my car solo, and made 3 trips to haul my few possessions to my new school and classroom 8 minutes down the road. A very different building, a much different teaching environment.
I am excited, hopeful, nervous - a bit on edge, deep down - I only know this to be the case because I had difficulty sleeping the past two nights, waking up at 1:30 a.m. and willing myself to go to sleep over the next two-and-a-half hours, finally succumbing to wakefulness and rolling out for an extra early start.
As I sit now in my summer-time PJ's, typing this blog out on my balcony, my mind travels back in time over this first school year, taking the eagle-eye view, and peers ahead into the unrealized future, the potential challenges and triumphs that lay ahead of me in the upcoming second year. That first day is 2 summer-laden months into the future, when the hustle-bustle excitement of the new school year descends.
For now, most children are easing into long summer afternoons. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be doing a bit of traveling, and then gripping the reins on finishing my Master's Thesis, setting the clock ticking on an August finish date. In between research and analysis, I will be purging, organizing, and planning ahead for my next adventure in teaching.
I am not yet close to the teacher that I dream of being - but I have faith that with this next and new experience, I will be ever closer to pulling more potential outwards, to take risks and build on a newly-laid foundation, to continue to explore who I am as an educator - my principles and values - and to develop a style and approach that is inspired by so many, yet all my own.
I can't wait to meet the developing individuals who will become my teachers and inspirations, who will challenge me to step up and outside of the box and my comfort boundaries. On that reflective note, I raise my coffee cup and meandering sun-laden thoughts to new and veteran educators alike! Have a bold and beautiful summer full of reflection and well-filling retreats.