It's that time of the day when shadows grow long and the light turns golden. I'm sitting here in my classroom long after everyone has gone home, only the sounds of the custodians - garbages scraping, vacuums whining - and a radio playing somewhere down the hall - music indistinct but still audible, echoing down the large empty corridor - to keep me company. I've been working on marking and reports for hours now, and I've let my mind wander...
I find myself looking out the tall, paned windows, a blue sky and evening light reflected off rustling leaves my only view. That, and a large fly who keeps trying to escape, crashing head first into the window over and over. Funny, I seem to be able to relate.
Every so often I see a plane flying by, climbing, climbing, into the blue, it's body gleaming in the sun. I imagine it full of passengers, bound for... where? Hawaii? London? Taiwan? Oh how I wish I could be on one of those planes, taking off for some unknown adventure in a faraway land.
My papers are spread out all around me - rows and rows of grades, percentages, evaluations. Marked work and piles left to be marked. My giant mug of green tea - is that my third, now? - needs to be refilled. I'm counting on the jolt it gives me to keep me awake.
I can't help but marvel that in two weeks this room will be empty. Not just of the kids, but of any trace of me, too. I change rooms along with the change of jobs next year. Funny how much this room has started to feel like home (perhaps cause of all the extra time I've spent here this year? Sometimes I've wondered if it would have just been better to have brought in a cot!) But of course, it's because of the kids.
Right now, I'm tired and stressed out, and they definitely have moments when they're driving me nuts, but I had a first taste of goodbyes today when one student left for Mexico. I helped him clear out his desk in the morning, and in the flurry of the day, kinda forgot that he was leaving. It wasn't until shortly before I dismissed them that I remembered. He was already at my side.
"Bye, Miss Hillary. Thank you for being my teacher this year!"
Oh my goodness! I wasn't prepared for this. What do I say? I wanted to say so much - encouraging words to send him off, a final word of wisdom to impart (ha!)... As he walked out the door after my bumbled goodbye and good wished for a wonderful summer, it really hit me that I have to say goodbye to these little monsters in two weeks. Let them go. This is my first class - they're special. I can only imagine what that last day will be like. I highly doubt I'll make it through with dry eyes.....
That fly is back. Thunk... Thunk... Thunk... He's not gonna get out of here by flying into that window any more than I'm gonna get done by continuing to daydream. Off I go to get another cup of tea and get back to work.
Or maybe I'll just sit and stare out the window some more. After all, it's a classroom in the summertime. That's what the windows are there for.