i am used to the pace of a school at 9:05 a.m. - noise building like a wave, crashing into the door of 208. there is always news, abby and marquis, osiris and jonathan putting away their coats. my room is a storage locker, is a place for secretly charging phones, is a place where we think and create and don't always get along. sara or keishnaly are usually first, pick up books and start reading. then you slowly filter in, quietly, sometimes sleepily asking what we're doing. lisa and jarrod make their entrance, eat their breakfast even though everyone knows that you can't eat in here. sometimes i make them go out into the hall, but mostly i just tell them to hurry up and get reading, no jelly on the pages.
i am already a mom, because i know the small things. which kids will only use pencil, which will only use pen. who will come in at 10:25 to strategically miss reading time everyday, mocha in hand (at least bring me one, felix!) which days i can joke around with china, and which days to let her be. when domo will participate and when her agenda is more important than anything i could ever have to say today.
but there are so many things i already miss, after a day of missing work. the way my room is vibrant during lunch, but kids are focused on doing work. melvin standing on a chair to mimic drunken Walter in "A Raisin in the Sun". how three is the magic number of a classroom - it takes 3 warnings for you to change your behavior and get on task. i never like to kick people out, because this room is also yours. while many classrooms are not a democracy (amanda), i try to make mine as much yours as i can. we have all carved out our corners. we migrated to a self-selected seating chart everyday, and eventually learn how to work while near our friends. that will be useful in college.
i have so many memories of just this room, and there's 3 years of 318 to also write down. i will be quite a busy woman this fall, because there are books on my brain and finally some time to write them. but the irony is - i will be writing about the thing i miss, like darius's random poetic moments after rolling around the floor with a basketball, and it will only be weeks before i must be back in the chaos of school. i have chosen you for a reason; there is no other place where i feel so alive. but the balance is shifting and i've learned in these last few months how truly important it is to prioritize myself. i will return to the classroom with renewed spirit, and a whole other reason for living, a new electricity. i am already mom to some (like bree and the softball team) but i will now be mom to one.
this past year has changed me irreversably. i was talking to priscilla about it the other day. the difference from me in 2008, your freshman year, to now, is almost unrecognizable. but that's how it should be - we should ALWAYS be growing, learning new things, challenging ourselves, whether we're in school or not. chasity asked me if i knew the meaning of life the other day, and i said yes. she looked at me like i was crazy and said "what is it?" and i replied "to become happy. to discover who we are, truly be that person and be happy in our lives, whatever happens to us."
this is what i strive for, why i teach and what i've learned from banana kelly. there is so much more to this story - like amelia and joselyn and cassandra - la isla de la verdad, an island that i go to whenever i need to unwind. like travis and jeff, my original sons, like LPS in detroit, playing my grandma's organ and meeting my whole family. maybe they were never all poets (except lechuga and jeff), but they were always up for adventure and full of hilarity. i want to finally screen the whole detroit video before you graduate.
the story of bk has yet to be fully written, and i am not the one to do it justice... but i am happy to add a chapter to the text of a small school that was so ethical because it was founded on caring adults forming a family structure. it carried with it all the drama of a family, all the fights and struggles of balancing work with money with everyone's needs, but i am proud of having been a part of this community, and it must keep living on with us.