Written on November 23, 2010.
Today is one of those days when I sense change around the corner, and with good reason. Thanksgiving break starts tomorrow, kicking off our first holiday season as a married couple. And soon, my internship is over. My students barraged me this afternoon with, “How many more days until you leave? Will you come back for the mud walk? Are you going to cry?”
A few weeks ago, Cristina, while trying to wrap her head around the concept of an “internship,” asked, “What are you doing, retiring or something?” Today she asked, “When are you coming back to finish the rest of your internship?” Somehow, she doesn’t fully understanding that in four days, I am not longer their teacher.
This is one of the very hard things about this job. These students are mine for such a temporary, fleeting time. Then, I leave them (or they are taken from me) into someone else’s hands to be built up or to be destroyed. All I can do is hope that all I’ve done has not been in vain.
When I look back on my own life, elementary school seems like a blink, a hiccup. It was there for a moment, and then it was gone. Still, I somehow know that I owe those women–my teachers–so much o what I have accomplished and so much of who I am.
I can count the pennies in my bank account, and subtract the $4.66 for this frappuchino I’m drinking.
I can write a shopping list.
There are characters, plots, and lines of poetry engrained in my psyche and imprinted on my heart.
Even as I scribble these words across this page, their influence over my life is as clear as the ink from this blue ballpoint pen. I take these things for granted every single day. But as I think about it, it becomes clear that I could not do this, be who I am, or lived this life without them.
I am reminded that teaching, though separated by summer breaks and punctuated by FCATs, grade levels, and commencements, is not temporary.
And I almost hope my students will learn everything well enough that they can take it for granted.