It doesn’t feel like a lot; a few bags of books, folders, and classroom decorations. There’s another box of thank you letters and posters in the closet. Even if I was a classic teacher pack rat, the emotional weight of thirteen years would still be greater than the physical weight.
And I’m seized with so many competing, colluding, colliding thoughts and emotions as I sit on my couch and watch it all on the kitchen table:
I want to cry and look at all of it, piece by piece, hour by hour, for a senseless amount of time. I will post each item on Facebook and all the teacher tribe will reminisce together over virtual beers. They will know that there are just as many stories surrounding my classroom pencil sharpener as there are my first yearbook.
I want to jam all of it under my pillow and see if any part of it will whisper to me something I have missed, part of the secret magic that everyone knows but me.
I want to tear out some pages, maybe from my first year teaching journal, maybe an old worksheet full of sentence frames, and lick them, maybe chew them. I think my stomach might digest what my brain fumbles through.
I want to throw it all together in a book, exactly how it is now, no order, personal notes and reflections right next to curriculum and lists of parents to call. Would that book make just as little sense and be just as beautiful as the last thirteen years?
I want to throw it all off a fucking cliff. Not in a spiritual purification kind of way, but in a hahahaha, I don’t have to get up before the sun anymore to do things that hurt my integrity and require a partially numbed heart to accomplish.
I want to pick up all the pieces and bang them very loudly against different surfaces of my house. I am curious about their music, now, from the outside.
I want to start carrying pieces in my purse and leaving them all over the Bay Area. Someone would find a gong in their driveway. Someone else would find a gold leaf copy of Madame Bovary sitting on their table at Pho Hoa. A communal scavenger hunt.
I want to whine to this pile of props, tell them how it is not fair that I can’t have both me and the classroom. While my body can stretch two directions at once with no pain, my heart cannot, and it is NOT FAIR.
I want them to tell me if they think I’m crazy to consider living outside the box, outside the groove. Yes, these inanimate objects are definitely judging me, asking who I’m kidding to try and not be a creature of habit.
I want to save the bits I could one day pass on to other teachers–the strivers, hopers, magic makers, balance keepers. I ask them if they want to go live on my new teacher farm one day, prop up the newbies with this bone deep, wise paradox.
They said they’ll get back to me.