March 15, 2009

Crossing Paths

When I worked in community theatre, the last performance of a play always came with mixed feelings. You worked closely with the same group of people for the last two months. All of you put your best efforts into the production. There were successes and failures. Then, one day, it’s all over. You all tear down the set and go home. Part of you is relieved, part of you is proud of what the group did, and part of you is sad that it’s over. The end of the school year is less than a month away, and I’m already anticipating a similar experience.

People who work in theatre a lot take this as part of the job. It becomes easier with each play you do. You’re sad to see the production end, but you know that more adventures lie ahead.

I wrote that during my student teaching experience. The end of my first year teaching evoked similar emotions, and this year is no different. I can't imagine DECA without this group of kids; I can't imagine the school store without this group of kids. I feel like next year, after these seniors leave, things just won't be the same. When I think about DECA, I'll always think about this group. To me, these people are DECA. I couldn't ask for a better group. And I'm not just saying that – I did not feel the same way about last year's students :)

The logical part of my mind tells me that this is all nonsense. It tells me that next year will bring all sorts of new joys and new challenges and new students. It tells me that I've gone through many, many, transitions before, and I've always been happy after the change. But still, I've got this annoying nostalgic thing going on in my brain.

It's almost unfair. You work all year building relationships with a group of people, and then they all leave, never to be seen or heard from again. Does it get easier? Veteran teachers tell me no.

The answer, of course, is to not hold on too tight. Life is a journey – the fun comes from experiencing it from one present moment to the next, not about reminiscing about the past or thinking about the future. The landscape of my life is full of lots of wonderful people. Wonderful people whose paths have crossed mine for a brief period of time. I look back and remember them all fondly. People from my hometown, people from college, people from my previous jobs. I'm extremely grateful for having had these people in my life.

Ultimately we are all solo travelers. When our paths cross with the paths of others, those are times to be cherished. But all paths inevitably diverge. Don't hold on too tight. Just keep going and see what other paths you'll cross next.

Is this post a bit over-the-top? Maybe. That's why I'm not a professional author. The general principles hold though. Teaching involves emotions. This coming from a stone-faced Rational.

No comments: