So, I'm leaving the classroom this year. Everything has been extra-nostalgic as a I take down posters, clear the board, begin to pack up the student artwork and photos that line the walls, trying to brighten a space without windows. Next year, I am becoming a dean, which means that I will still be in the classroom, but in a much different capacity. I will be working with students on building relationships with teachers and other students, working with teachers on building relationships with students and other staff members. I will still teach, and am definitely still an educator, but what happens when a key part of your identity shifts? I'm feeling the fracture right now.
If I'm going to be truly honest here, I have to tell you this. I'm not the best mother. When I get home from work, I am tired, I am cranky, I have been patient and soothing all day. I try to locate patience from the depths of my diaphragm, but sometimes there just isn't any. Sometimes I yell, sometimes I am rash, sometimes I slam doors and hide in the bathroom to take a deep breath. I am trying to get better and recognize my own needs, so that I can be calmer and more patient with my kids. So my identity as a teacher has been incredibly important to me, because in a time when motherhood is tough, I can hang on to my ability to do something well.
But now I'm casting aside my teacher identity to try on a new role. I am terrified. I love the classroom, have left teaching before for other educational pursuits and always end up back here. I'll be at a school, I'll be working with kids, I'll have a classroom space that I can decorate and design with my team, but this feels so different in my brain, and I'm trying to wrap my head around the reality. I will miss talking books and poetry. I will miss the class discussions dissecting an author's intention or a symbol.
As I sat in graduation yesterday, I too, inhaled the charge that my colleague and dear friend Elizabeth was giving the class. The world needs my idealism, my dreams, my love, in order to manage the chaos and disorder that we see, the violence that has become all too normal for my community. I am looking forward to the new beginning as someone who can positively impact school culture, who can connect and unite students and staff. I will learn so much from my colleagues and students, but I intend to prove that love is not weakness but a source of strength. As I do this, I continue looking back, and will hopefully reconnect with folks who positively impacted me this summer.
As I work on finally completing my first book, 14 years after I began, I look forward to writing the next one. The first step is the most difficult to take, but let's make this road loud and vibrant.