It's that time of year again.
40 blue plastic chairs stacked high in the corner. 18 desks piled on top of each other. All 310 of my World Geography books are stacked neatly against the wall. There are new art pieces and graduation announcements on my wall yet the room feels so empty.
And I'm still here.
It's so weird how every year at this time I feel the exact same thing but each year it feels so fresh, so deep, so intense that I swear there's no possible way I've felt this feeling before. But alas I look back and remember writing about it here, here, here, here, or here.
So yes, clearly I have felt this before.
I am positive I'll feel it again.
But it doesn't mean it doesn't affect me now. I get so sad. I feel so hopeless. Mostly I feel so lonely.
Each year when I feel this, I try and describe it. In the past I've describe it as feeling like everyone else gets to leave NeverNever Land except me. They all get to grow up and change. Experiences things so much cooler than junior high........ but I'm stuck here.
This year I'll add to this feeling because it is starting to feel a bit different. You see every year I'm afraid that there is no possible way that I could love my students next year as much as I love them "this year." And sure enough I love my students the "next year" but here is where the disheartening part comes in. You see I don't know my students as much as I have in the past. My heart doesn't ache quite as much for them when I know they are going through tough things. I don't get quite as excited when I know I've changed their lives either. You see each year I am afraid I give a part of my heart and soul to that group of students. And what scares me is I see with each and every year that I have less and less to give. I don't have as much enthusiasm, I don't have as much concern, I don't have as much heart and soul to offer.
You are probably thinking, "Well duh. We all had the young vibrant teacher that changed our lives but we also all had the old washed out teachers that were just paying their dues until they retired."
It's sad to watch that happen.
It's sad to watch that change.
I'm fighting like heck to make sure that doesn't happen.
I am fighting like heck to be the best teacher I can be.
And for this exact reason, summer vacation is so important. Each year when my students off and fly away I need a whole summer of resting, scheming, and most important energizing to remember that although there isn't as much heart and soul as there once was, there still is some. And I am going to use all the energy I can muster to create the best darn 15 year old punks I can.
But until then.... the loneliness birds. If you have never watched or read the story of The Power of One then it probably sounds weird. But I recently read the book and show the movie every single year. Oddly enough, I feel the movie is way more powerful and meaningful than the book. But the best part of the book is getting into Peekay's head. This cute little English boy in South Africa who has seen way too much death and hate in his life. The way he describes sadness is the loneliness birds. And so today as I sit in my empty classroom mourning the loss of another class of punk 15 year old kids.... I feel the loneliness birds.