The past few weeks have been full of upheaval; for someone who hates change as much as I do, I’ve struggled to remain positive in the face of so much transition.
I suppose some of this is to be expected. In some ways, what I had last year – mentors everywhere, a close and well-defined friend group, manageable instructional goals – was never meant to last forever. That’s a part of growing up. But as I near the halfway mark of my second year, there just seems to be such transience in the air, and it makes me sad.
I used to do this in college. Miss things before they were actually over. But this time, things are actually ending and changing now, right before my eyes. Many of my at-school relationships are quite different than they were last year (I’d say more but I don’t think it’s appropriate for this venue). I still love my students, though I don’t think there will be anything quite like the bond I had with my kiddos last year. My ratio of boring-objective-based-teaching to meaningful-life-conversation-with-students continues to shift more and more towards the former, which I suppose is good for my Lesson Alignment scores, but hard on my soul. I think I had exactly one inspiring conversation with a kid last week. Only one.
Things in my non-school-life are different, too. Last year, we were all in the same boat, all first-year teachers just struggling to keep our heads above water. But now that we can breathe, we are all living our lives and taking separate paths, and for the first time I’m seeing…those paths might not intersect in the future. I know this is the way things go. it’s the way of nature. but it’s still tough.
I decided to teach a third year, though I don’t know what that’ll look like. If I stay in Houston I’ll definitely stay at my placement school. But over the past few weeks, I’ve become more and more enamored with the idea of moving to Denver and just sort of starting over. I’ve lived in Houston for nearly six full years now; in some ways, my TFA-life has just felt like an extension of my college-life. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and stagnating in areas of my non-teaching life. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start.
The thought of saying goodbye to so many mentors, friends, and students makes me tear up – even now, just thinking about it – but in other ways, I don’t think I was ever meant to live here in Houston long-term. I’m meant to live somewhere with mountains and fresh air and all sorts of new & interesting people. I can’t shake the thought of how beautifully freeing it would be to just start over and build a life as the adult version of myself, not a scared recent-college-graduate trying to pretend I am an adult in the same city I moved to when I was seventeen.
Yet in other ways, I feel like moving would be taking a gigantic step backward. Throwing away all the social capital and professional relationships I’ve built here – just for some foolish desire to start anew. And even aside from the professional relationships, I’ve formed deep personal bonds with many of the staff members at TFA Houston and within my school district. They, in many ways, have watched me – and helped me – grow up. I am forever indebted. It would be hard to leave.
I wish there was a manual for adulthood.
I’m flying out to visit a Denver school in about a month. In the meantime, it’s Brain Boot Camp in room 23. We have exactly three weeks til Winter Break and those three weeks are going to be the time when we truly kick it into gear. Archetype. Symbolism. Tone. Tone vs. mood over and over and over until not a single child is still confused about the difference between those two words. Open-ended responses. Hyperbole. Alllll the non-fiction articles I can find. Read and read and read and write because God knows we all could write a little bit more. Reading every night. Reading every day.
Tell me…what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?