I'm at school and won't be able to say that for much longer. Tomorrow I'll be at a different school to grade the English Regents exam. The next day I might not make it to work — there's an end-of-the-year bug going around — and then I'll have my last day ever in this building, in this school system, possibly in this profession.
It's weird this ending.
I knew it wouldn't be all yahoo! I'm not great at endings. On New Year's Eve I get depressed about the end of the year instead of excited about the beginning of the new. Still, it's tough not to be happy about leaving this school and today I found more reasons to leave as I went through old documents and email.
I'm leaving very little trace behind. For years I've kept home life away from school. Most everything here stays put or has gone into the garbage. I didn't even need a box to get my stuff home. Today I went through the school Google Drive and Gmail. I downloaded a copy (Google Takeout is a good tool) then went through and deleted everything, taking a walk down memory lane which is a dark and dreary path here.
I found emails about my disciplinary meetings, an administrator's note telling me to keep my opinions to myself, a notice from our superintendent about "good work ethic" that busted the contract, and some of my responses to these things. It's all deleted now and I feel a bit lighter but saddened too.
This could and should be a good school, but for the ways in which it is managed. I'm not such a great teacher, but I've been good for this place and could have done more with only the slightest encouragement. Instead, I'm deleting my email, removing every document, and leaving behind very little of my expertise and experience.
This is why I'm glad to leave but in no mood to celebrate. This whole thing was eighteen years of failure, to one degree or another. What a shame. What a waste.
That said, I'm no longer following failure with more failure. I'm leaving and have every chance of making a difference now, of being happy in my work, of doing more than just trying to survive the year.
Still, it's weird, the end of all this.
I'll miss the windows in my classroom, the standing desk, the music playing in the background. I'll miss being here by myself, no kids, no colleagues, and no administrators. But I'll walk out into the wider world and the missing won't amount to much. I won't miss it very much at all.