At best, a mixed day for this teacher.
Among the different numbers and details my head insists on safekeeping, June 6th will find its place no doubt. The day when those lessons are over, for good. The day when the final exam is taken and those students move on. I’d been thinking of that moment regularly in the past year. I knew it was coming and dreaded it. I’ve had many of those moments through the years and even though it has never turned out to be as horrible and heartbreaking as I’d imagined it, still the same feelings pour out and there is nothing I can do to stop them.
Feeling happy and sad simultaneously is almost imperative in my world. Six years of learning with those kids have come to an end. I’m proud of their achievements, our journey, of them. I’m even a little proud of myself, for having kept open as much as possible to what they had and could show me. It was not the case of incredible, it was only us keeping together for so many different reasons. And I feel so…what’s that word…gloomy, as well, because that’s it. Done.
I remember one of my professors telling me that a good plan is the best weapon in my arsenal. I also remember Not telling him that we are not at war. Yes, just wording. But words are immensely powerful. It took me some time to realize that ‘planning’ means nothing on its own; where do you stand in the plan? where do your students stand? Then I discovered the significance of continuity, in practice (theories, oh theories). With this group, like with many others, the years count. We grew together, I grew with them and had the privilege to be there as they became what they are. I helped them and they helped me and we all climbed higher together. We are lucky in the same way, all of us teachers. We are there.
I had to ask.
”How should we celebrate the end of our lessons?”
”But you’ll be coming over again.”
Yes, I will. Beginnings and endings are very much the same.
Where is this going? The blog, I mean. Does it have to go anywhere even? I started blogging three years ago, not because I had anything important to say, but because it seemed like the best way to share thoughts and invite more thoughts to bounce along my own. There could be a better idea out there, a stronger word. It was also a way of organizing my chaotic brain.
In terms of bouncing, it’s worked 100%. I’ve had inspiring and empowering ideas to add to my own and I’m so grateful for all contributions and feedback. I’ve been asked interesting questions, like ‘why don’t you write in Greek?’ or ‘how do you decide what to write?’. Um, I don’t know and I don’t know. Some things come naturally and I prefer it that way. Other things are planned and they’re fine too.
Organizing is a different story. It’s been impossible to keep typed thoughts in order; pencils seem to rule that domain, and pens on and off. Different notebooks for the several different things I’ve found myself doing, which might sound like it’s making the chaos worse but it isn’t. There are quite a lot of coloured pens and pencils and endless rows of sticky notes as well. It works. And makes the blogging easier, actually.
So where do we go from here? To the two thoughts that led to the two new sections of the blog.
The first is the result of bouncing happily online, from a random comment to a new idea and story.
Stories are as significant and versatile as each and every one of their readers. It’s not about somebody writing a piece or two, it’s more about the ones who sit and go through those pieces. They might find something new in there, or perhaps something old. They might find themselves, or someone they know, or even meet someone entirely new. But they will discover. Something is always twirling in your mind and there’s a unique kind of joy when someone sees it, grabs one end and starts pulling it out. That’s what Sylvia Guinan did at some point, by inviting me to write a guest post for WiziQ. And so this whole thing came to be. Thank you Sylvia.Time to let those true tales breathe out in the open.
The second is simultaneously personal and professional. I’ve been a freelance teacher for over a year now. Had a lot of feedback, which can be summed up in those two statements: ‘you should have done this a long time ago’ and ‘ you’re crazy, you’re supposed to seek security’. Frankly, that’s exactly how it’s been in my head as well. Did I make the right choice? Does it work for me? Will (or can) I keep it up? So, a new series of posts on exactly that: the attempt to organise my thoughts on what it really is I’m doing. It might work.