Today I packed up my classroom.
I started at the school in January - right after returning from the Peace Corps. It was a good fit. Great working team, close to home, and a bunch of rowdy seventh graders to keep me on my toes. It gave me a solid routine to get back into being in America and that helped me with the transition from the more free-form existence I was living in Africa.
When I decided to take the offer from UCSC in March, I knew leaving was going to be hard. Pushing it out of my mind backfired on the last day of school - when I shed a tear or two in front of my students- going against the first rule in teaching middle school: show no fear.
After school was out we had a week of rest until summer school started. Summer school was a great gig - 10 kids, 3 hours for 20 days. I got to do the type of teaching teachers dream about. Games, individual instruction, skill building, application-based activities, error analysis, goal-setting and reflections. The kids worked hard and averaged a 24% increase on their post-test. It was a satisfying way to finish my public school classroom teaching career.
So today, we pushed the desks to the side, counted up all the textbooks, cleaned all the boards and other surfaces, organized all the supplies, and . . . then . . . I left. Dropped the key off with my principal and left.
I'm beyond excited to start my PhD program this fall, but there definitely was something bittersweet about leaving today. And I'll always remember P-6 as my last classroom.