Thursday, June 1, 2017

Endings and Beginnings and Confusing Middlings

I'm a few classes away from finishing up my first year teaching.

I love it.

I love snarky teenagers who come in at the beginning hating math and leave feeling confident and bright.

I love watching the lightbulb come on.

I love the endless sassy banter that comes with teaching high school students.

I love watching them figure out who they are and try out truly horrible fashion.

As the year comes to a close and I look for new employment (unfortunately I can't continue teaching without going back to school which is stupidly expensive), I'm sad to say goodbye. I won't miss the grading or the oppressively legalistic culture of the staff at my school or the absurdly entitled parents... but I'll miss the excitement of passing on interesting ideas and skills.

One of my students came to me with a huge smile and said that during her time in my class her math score on the PSAT increased by several hundred points.

Another student's mother told me that this was the first math class her daughter wasn't failing.

I'm so proud of them, and I wish I could stick around to watch them dive into Algebra II or Geometry next year.

But, like it or not, here I am at the end of this road--which seemed so daunting at the beginning and yet so exhilarating at the end-- wondering... what's next?

People always say that life is full of beginnings and endings, but nobody ever bothered to mention what the heck you're supposed to do with the middlings. The in-betweens.

I've read too many books to have low expectations about the adventure-level of life. It never ceases to surprise me when life is just...ordinary. Work. Bills. Dentists.

The world seems so full of beginnings and endings--so many people being engaged, married, starting school, moving away and starting new lives, writing books, starting businesses, graduating, and having babies. (Side note: I was so not prepared for all of my friends to start having babies. I still feel like we're all in high school... who told them they could grow up AND reproduce? Will I ever see them again once they enter the mysterious world of parenthood?). All new beginnings or endings that lead to them.

And I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

I think there's a lot of things I'd like to do, many of them inaccessible due to circumstance, and other ones... scary. What if I try something but crash and burn? What if my personality is too gentle, too quiet, too nerdy to be taken seriously? As an introvert living in a world of extroverts, being overlooked, unheard, and underestimated is major problem. I don't really mind it too much. What bothers me is the ever-present quiet voice saying, "What if they're right? This isn't you."

I guess I'm trying to figure out what is me. What can be me.

Or maybe this is just the existential dread kicking in because it's after midnight and I haven't slept well in weeks.

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