After 23 years teaching Reading and Language Arts to more 7th and 8th graders than I want to count, I am hanging up my teacher shoes. I began my career in this very room in 1991. As the years of my teaching life piled up, I thought I'd spend my entire time as an educator right here in Room 31. Then a new opportunity came my way, and I decided to leave the classroom for a new career path. What happened to change my mind? I haven't really figured that out just yet. Maybe summer vacation will reveal the answer. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn't matter. Perhaps some changes just don't need explanation. In any case, when August comes, instead of standing at the door to Room 31 to greet a fresh bunch of middle schools students, I'll start my new job as a district English Coach working with teachers to help them with their own students.
Saying goodbye to this dusty old classroom with peeling window paint and rickety furniture older than my career is bittersweet. Being teacher has been so much a part of my identity for so many years that I'm nervous about who I will be and become. I'm like one of my eighth graders going off to high school. And of course all this uncertainty has come out in writing. Here are some haikus about how it feels to end this part of my life: