As this school year comes to a close, I find myself in a place I haven’t been for five years. Instead of stowing all of the middle school English books away in a filing cabinet in my closet, they’re neatly organized in bags. It’s the end of an era.
For the first time in five (really six, since the year I taught 6th grade counts) years, I won’t be teaching middle school English. I’m handing it off to a girl who’s fresh out of college, has been yearning for a middle school English job, and is more like me than I ever would have guessed my eventual successor would be.
Teaching my students about creative writing (among other things) has been great fuel for my own creativity, but this school year has been different. I felt drained. Stretched. As Bilbo says in The Fellowship of the Ring, “like butter scraped over too much bread.” I was doing too much between all of the English students, designing and teaching a high school French class, and administrative work. It was time to let something go. And it wasn’t an easy decision. One thing was killing my creativity instead of feeding it, though, and it’s the thing I felt needed to move on to someone else.
The thing that makes it easier, though? Handing it over to someone who is like me six years ago. Young, fresh, ready to correct more papers than you can shake a stick at, and excited to share her passion for writing and literature. That younger me never could have imagined being in charge of anything or giving up time in a classroom for boring office work. Now, though, things are different. The administrative work I do are things that I’ve grown into and that feel purposeful. They suit me well. And they still don’t mean that I’m stuck in an office somewhere (especially since I have French I and II to teach next year).
It’s funny how it works like that. You eventually do things you never thought you’d do and enjoy them. Seasons change, sometimes in unexpected ways.
So as I face the bittersweet job of packing everything up, I remember all of the fun of past years and look forward to a different summer and school year next year. There are still plenty of adventures to have (and more time to actually write my own things again).