As April presses on, I’m reminded that next year, I will officially not be a “new” teacher. I will be in the coveted year four. The kids I taught as freshmen will be seniors. I will not have double the evaluations and handholding of everyone else. I will be at a decent distance from possible RIFfing. I might remember my mailbox combination. That sort of thing.
I don’t believe that teaching is that different from other jobs. Sure, I have 14-18 year olds for clientele, and my every waking moment is timed by bells. Those two components seem to be the root of how my job is different than say, my dad’s. But essentially, I am several parts of other professions placed into a blender and mixed on pulse. I market literature to a reluctant target audience. I edit their articles and provide timely feedback. I manage those underneath me with a firm eye — no slacking on the job. I train in new technology. I am your average custodian-therapist-clerk-meets babysitter with a background in lit and a penchant for public speaking.
But this isn’t a post about my job. It’s about me. (It is my full name in the URL, no?) And, as I try to remember most days, my job and I are two separate entities.
So this is about progress. It’s about how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. It’s about how I used to let kids make me cry. It’s about how I used to stay at my job until 7 at night even when I wasn’t coaching a sport that I’d never played. It’s about how many frozen pizzas and Top Ramen I consumed after I graduated college — very little in comparison to my dorm days. And it’s how a couple of those things may or may not be partially conceivably still quasi-true. Maybe.
It’s about Miley being born and Jordan graduating and Patrick getting married and buying a first house and becoming a mother.
It’s because I used to think that the four years you have in high school are where you discover who you are. But they aren’t; you only get a taste — a lick — and then people want you to say THIS is who I am: this, this, and this. And then you spend the next eight years realizing that you aren’t that person at all, or you are just this but not that, and that all those things that yesterday’s adults made out to be so difficult and so impossible are things you have become fully capable of in your own right.
That last paragraph, I am sure, makes no sense. I give up on communicating — for the love, I tried baby mangos today. What do you want from me?
Anyway, here’s a sort of goulash of photos. Pretty much the only ones I’ve got. They represent a lot of tears and a lot of stress and a lot of really, really happy moments.