the end.

Today was my last day of official teaching - Nicole has been introduced to all of the girls and both campuses have now seen me hand the baton to her. I wonder if they saw how hard it was for me to let it go?

In Book Club, the girls were all Tardy.

"Pull out your packets," I say. Nicole asked that I head this class one last time to give her the chance to do the reading and fill out the packet I put together with her own answers.

Ah, the packet.

"Turn to chapter 5 in your packet - let's go over your reading from last time."

The familiar sound of rustling papers doesn't come as I'm flipping my own copy of the packet to the Chapter 5 section. Finally, I look up. Blank stares.

Then, from someone, "Where are we supposed to be to?"

"You read chapters 5 and 6 last time."

Blank stares.

"I didn't," one of them finally admits.
"I'm not as far as everyone else," says another.
"Yeah, me neither" they all start to chime in.

"Okay," I say. "Where did you read to?"

Blank stares.

"I'm behind," someone finally says.

I try not to get impatient. "What is the last thing you read?"

One of the girls says, "to chapter 5."

We had read through chapter 4 in class last time we met. "TO chapter 5 or THROUGH chapter 5?" I ask, lowering my expectations for my last class ever with every blank stare that meets my accusatory one.

" five."

"So, basically what you are telling me is that nobody did any reading since last time."

"Right! Yes!" they chorused excitedly, relieved to finally have an answer.

I slowly put down my copy of the packet, reassessing and recalculating the next hour of my life (and the last hour of my life as a high school English teacher) as I stand from where I sat at the front of the room.

"You are all in trouble." I say in my 'darn you, but you're glad I like you' tone. "No end of term party for you!"

"WHAT?!" says the one who was lying on the floor...again. When had she snuck down there?

"Get off the floor," I say. Again.

"Alright," I say. So be it. "Today is a reading day. And now, to be caught up, you must all be through chapter 9 by Wednesday."

Groans of protest fade to quiet reading and my last day of teaching fades to an hour of babysitting the girls while they read.

Disappointment and relief tug at me until I throw up my shoulders in the shrug of humored acceptance. This was New Haven, after all. Nothing happens the way you plan.

And I let go of my last stubborn (greedy?) grip on that baton.


Tammy said...

You should be an English Teacher!!!

MikkSolo said...

It's not "the end", it's "see you later"