In case you were wondering, this is what six years looks like when it’s in the back of a Highlander.
The past two days have been a whirlwind of filing, trashing, three-hole-punching, envelope-stuffing, backing-up documents, and saying goodbye. The back of my car may hold the things I’ve used to make my classroom a home and teach nearly 500 students, but it can’t contain the memories. They’re too numerous to fit.
I remember the group of boys I had first period my first year. “Good ol’ boys” all but convinced that school was just something they did to pass the time until they could get real jobs. I remember one of them seeking me out at graduation and asking me to come and meet his family. He was the first to graduate.
I remember the writer my second year, stuck in a classroom of kids far below her in terms of pretty much everything except money, but never condescending. Always willing to read aloud or ready to offer up an answer when it was clear that no one else knew. I had her again her junior year and she was just as amazing a student then as she had been two years before.
I remember the actor in my second period who read the part of John Proctor with gusto like I’d never seen before. I was pregnant with Joshua that year and I remember their whispered reactions when I broke the news to them with a bonus question on a test. “I knew it” and “I told you!” flew up and down the rows.
I remember their anticipation over my infamous bank robber story. I tell it every year and every year, they come in waiting to hear it having heard from their friends that it’s not one to miss.
There was laughter. There were life lessons. There was sarcasm. There was anger. There were tears. There was community.
I have notes in boxes, posters, and a podium full of signatures.
My life has been touched by so many talented, intelligent, beautiful souls over the past six years. I’m so lucky to have known them all.
Somehow, for all of the times when I’d argue the opposite, I know that I mattered. Tonight, that’s enough.