I never thought that this post would be the most challenging writing assignment of my year.
I have composed it in my head thousands of times. Somewhere in the universe’s negative space where things you don’t write down go, there is the triumphant “Closed That Achievement Gap, Y’all” version I imagined during Institute, the “I Didn’t Make It,” version I pondered this winter, the “Screw Year 2″ version that danced through my head over and over again.
But now the end of the year has really come, and I find that none of my intangible rough drafts is suitable. Oddly enough, I neither closed the achievement gap nor left the corps. A week ago today, I even signed and submitted a contract with my school district to spend another year in the now soothingly empty Room 374.
I waited three days to write this “last day of school,” post, because I was waiting for the whole thing to kind of sink in. It hasn’t yet, not really.
For example, on Friday after the children left at 1:05, my reaction should have been either:
But neither of those is really accurate. Instead I went to a last day staff meeting (here-is-what-you-will-do-in-your-classrooms-next-year-oh-it’s-the-same-as-what-you-were-supposed-to-do-this-year-but-never-really-did-and-it-didn’t-seem-to-matter-but-now-we’re-really-serious-really). I had lunch with team mates and toasted the end of 2011-2012. I went to the movies and soaked in air conditioning (on a Friday night? weren’t there spelling quizzes to grade?)
At some point I imagine that I will write more coherently about the conclusion of Year 1 (hoping, naturally, that I will at some point think more coherently about the entire year in general).
Until then, I’m satisfied to sit back and reconnect with the adult universe, which has been eclipsed by my teacher world in the past 10 months. I’m planning to clean my apartment, make doctors appointments, train for a half marathon. I’m planning to be an eager phantom reader of 2012 Institute blogs. I’m planning to devour all of the books, to travel without guilt, to go to sleep late and wake up later. In the midst of all of this, I am planning to both remember and forget that I am a member of Teach for America’s 2011 Corps of teachers, and that on August 13th, the whole merry-go-round will begin again.