Sometimes when I imagine what it'll be like to leave Rock Bridge / Columbia, I imagine Green Day singing "Time of Your Life" as a montage of clips scroll by - me with my students and friends living it up in Columbia, my home of the last seven years.
Sometimes, like today, the sadness squeezes so tight that I don't think I can hold back the tears for one more minute.
I have been slowly cleaning out desk drawers, folders and file cabinets - recycling, giving away and packing all the crap I've inexpicably held onto for the past several years. There are papers from kids who are gone - dead or graduated, and papers from kids I had forgetten all about. Old lesson plan books, conference notes and handouts all serve as reminders of who I was and am as a teacher, what a huge part of my life has been all about.
It's making me sentimental, and I'm trying not to romanticize it all, but taking this step is huge and scary.
Leaving is going to be really, really hard.
I got choked up today, reading a story from a book about Vietnam called The Things They Carried that has never made me emotional before. I realized it's because this may be the last time I'll teach this story, this book, this unit. It's about saying good-bye. Not just to the kids or my classroom of the last seven years, or even this school. But to everyone I know here, my town, my second home.