#41: On the Very Last Work Day of the School Year


On the Very Last Work Day of the School Year

It began with a breakfast
during which we said tearful
goodbyes to beloved colleagues
retiring or moving on,
a difficult, but joyful thing,
wanting them to stay but
wishing them well and happy returns
for all they’ve done for our school
and our kids.
We were out of practice;
for the longest time in our building
hardly a soul has come or gone,
at least, not willingly and not publicly
like this.
And then I was buried in my room,
sitting in front of a computer for hours,
racing against time to finish
this activity that passes for grading sometimes
and that, while it practically kills my remaining
sanity, likely makes very little difference
in the long haul.
My wife came in to help me
pick up my room and I was thankful
for that little comfort.
And when I was finally finished
hours after she had gone home,
I realized I was perhaps the last teacher
out of the building on this very last
work day of the school year,
one year closer to retirement
and nowhere closer to having the answers
about how to best balance my work,
about how to maximize the meaningful
and jettison the nonsense,
about how best to spend my time
so that there is no question at the end of the day
or at the end of the year that I have indeed done
the very best work I can do.
Before that day comes for me that
some of my colleagues experienced today,
I want to have figured this much out.
I want to walk out those doors
on the very last work day of the school year
doing the most joyful of victory dances,
not because it’s over,
but because I rocked it like a mother.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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