Friday, May 30, 2008

Room 26

Pin It I packed up my room.

No, not my bedroom…my classroom.

As the items which made this room their home for the past several years found their way into boxes and were stacked up in the back, I could see nearly a decade of my life being put away with it. I found myself confronted by similar feelings to which I imagine Kathleen Kelly, the character in You’ve Got Mail, must have felt when her bookstore was closing down.

“Soon [I’ll] just be a memory. In fact someone, some foolish person, will probably think it’s a tribute to this [school], the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know, because that's the sort of thing I’m always saying. But the truth is; I’m heartbroken. I feel as if part of me has died, and no one can ever make it right.”

I know that this decision was mine and mine alone, however, how can one merely leave a place they’ve loved, had so many experiences in, and that has fundamentally changed their life?

You can’t.

I remember a friend of mine once saying, “You never truly leave a place you love. Part of it you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind.”

It is at times like this that I question that statement. In time I will become nothing more than a faded memory…much like the faces of the past, those who’ve been a part of the school, but have faded into oblivion. Who knows these people now? Does anybody really care?

Such are the facedly-jaded moments of time which inevitably come to an end.

WE remember, but life does go on.

Today was hard and yet easy at the same time. We had graduation, photos were taken with students, and I found myself trying to prolong the inevitable…the closing down of the bookstore. As long as I was conversing with parents, having a photo taken with a student, or one of about a million other things, I was prolonging my time at the school which I’ve worked at for eight years.

However, like it inescapably does, the time came and then it passed. My life has been fundamentally changed and there is no going back. The items were moved, lights were turned off, farewells were spoken, and finally…the name plaque came down.

Room 26.

As I made ready to leave the room I found myself facing some writing left on the chalkboard by my students. It was with this that I felt a new emotion. I was not going to miss a room, but the people who made that room what it was. Like my longtime friend, Val Dixon, it is not her home which I love, but the family which make those four walls come to life.

A room is but a room.

I know that new adventures are waiting in the wings for their cue to take the center stage, but there is also a portion of my soul which dreads the change which the future is so eager to present to me.

“…my store is closing this week. I own a store. Did I ever tell you that? Probably not. It’s a lovely store—and in a week, it will be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap. I am being amazingly brave — ”

10 comments:

The Scotts said...

The school may change, move one, or forget you, but a part of you will remain in the hearts of those students whose lives you've touched for good.

Kris said...

I see this happen so often in schools. You leave with your memories. And believe me the kids will also. They remember you. I have heard kids talking about those teachers that left. So the memories do remain in their hearts too. You have to look at the memories you will create in the hearts of new students.

Gerb said...

You will be remembered and sorely missed - I'm sure of that. The school will just not be the same without the infamous "Mr. Z" and all your amazing contributions - seriously. I feel sorry for the teacher that will have to fill your shoes!

And who knows - you're still close enough that you may have plenty of families stalking you over to the new school...

NY1596 said...

I can relate to that

Farscaper said...

Do you have an opinion of the new principle at "the new school"? He's sooooo young. I know one teacher's opinion of him... I was wondering what yours was.

cari said...

Ditto to what Gerb wrote! You won't be forgotten. Max will forever remember you because I'm sure the "z" you branded on his forehead will be be there forever. (Hey, thanks for using a Sharpie by the way!)

Teachinfourth said...

J&J - Yeah, I still remember my teachers, even though they have no idea that I think about them from time to time. Some of them with more fondness than others...

Kris - Amen! If we always stay where we are, we'll never get where we are truly going.

Gerb - I will miss the 6th grade graduation and clap out, but these things can be replaced elsewhere. I'm glad that there are a few familiar faces going along for the journey as well.

NY - I think we all can relate to something each others' experiences. It helps us to have empathy.

Farscaper - I interviewed with him and really liked him right off. A few folks in the district have commented how great he is too. I think it will be a fun, exciting, learning year!

Cari - Thanks again for the help. It was great to have them there. I thought about scratching in the "Z" with a nail, but I didn't have one handy...hopefully it came off before Sunday religious gatherings!

Panama Jones said...

"And who knows - you're still close enough that you may have plenty of families stalking you over to the new school..."

Yes, you thought you could escape, but you didn't go far enough! (Cue maniacal laugh.)

We're thrilled for "Red" that she can have "The Z Experience ©" next year.

The crazy thing about life is we all try so hard to hold on to what we "have" and still it slips from our grasp. Nothing in this world is permament, change is the only constant. The good is what you have (im)printed on others (no pun intended, no, really) and what others have given to you.

Lars said...

It could be that I have a memory like an elephant but I recall ALL my teachers. Which is quite a few since I had two plus for each grade. Never doubt your contribution to shaping a student's life. You may not know it but for some students you may mean the world to them.

I now long to curl up and read my favorite children's books due to the You've Got Mail reference.

Teachinfourth said...

PJ - It was a great year with "Red Pepper" in the class...also, there was quite the exodus to the new school. All is good.

L - I, too, can remember a host of teachers who've made a world of difference for me. I have hopes that for some of my students, I've made it someplace into those ranks of memory.

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