Today is my last day of work at the school where I’ve been teaching for the past year. While this post sits and accrues the modest number of eyeballs from people that care about the goings on of my personal and professional life, I’ll be off at work doing last minute packing and sorting. These activities will honestly not take that much time, so I expect most of the day will be spent enjoying the company of my coworkers (this is generally the way that post-planning always goes; you just don’t have as much to do in the time given as you think you will). I think this is a fitting way to spend the last day of the school year, especially since I won’t be returning to this job in the fall.
It’s no real secret among my friends and family that Rachael and I are in the process of organizing a move across the country to Oregon. She just graduated from her degree program, and we find ourselves, for the first time in eight years, not bogged down with the need to live near a university and get by on a single income. We’re ready to go on an adventure like we’ve discussed doing ever since we got married, and this is the moment to do it. Rachael has always loved the Pacific Northwest, and I’m up for seeing something new (I’ve lived in Georgia my entire life and only ever traveled significant distances on a few special occasions), so that’s where we’re setting our course. It’s a happy turn of events for us, and we grow more excited as each step in our plan comes to fruition.
For me there is some sadness mixed in as well. After five years working at my last school, I was very much approaching burnout, and the transition to the school where I’ve been was a happy one. I’ve made friends and done well professionally in this latest setting; in many ways it feels like a good fit for me. As I’ve said many times to many people, if the plan were to stay in Georgia then I would absolutely want to stay where I am; that’s not the plan though, and I can’t.
If I had to sum up the last year of work briefly, I would have to describe it overall as restful. My previous job was very high stress with a challenging student population and limited professional resources; I can’t say that it was a bad experience, but it’s definitely not the sort of environment that most people can work in for an extended period of time. I’m perpetually amazed by the folks I know who had been working there longer than me and who are still going strong a year after I decided I’d had enough. In contrast, I’ve felt incredibly supported in this most recent job, and I could easily continue doing this kind of work for many more years.
I’ve found the co-teaching model quite agreeable all around. I understand that there are potential pitfalls if you don’t get paired with a co-teacher who meshes with your classroom style and personality, but I was lucky enough during this year to not run into those issues. All of my co-teachers were wonderful, and they did a lot to help me navigate this transitional year into a new paradigm for classroom work. I hope that I was equally helpful in making their classrooms welcoming places where our students learned stuff that they wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
That’s all for today, I think. I’m entering another transition, and there are a lot of feelings mixed up in it; it’s probably better to just sit with those feelings for a bit for now.