Open Letter to the 2016/2017 School Year

The end of a school year always brings mixed emotions for me. It didn’t really dawn on me until recently that I’m no different than other people my age who are still stuck doing contract work and experiencing periodic uncertainty about their employment. I’m an LTO, and while I have enough experience (and possibly the reputation) that I consistently get teaching positions each year, I spend the summer not knowing where I’ll be in September. I’ve been exceptionally lucky in that I’ve almost never been without work, but five years feels like a long time of hopping from school to school, especially when I’m lucky enough to find myself at a school that I genuinely love working at.

“Bittersweet” is probably the best way to describe my feelings over the past couple of weeks. I tend not to talk about my teaching in too much detail here, but I’m going to break that unspoken rule, because my experience at Merivale High School this year was possibly the best of my entire career so far. I taught some truly exceptional students, and got to watch a bunch of them collect their diplomas, proud to have gotten a chance to work with them and (apparently) actually have an impact. I coached a team for the first time, and I kid you not that team won the friggin’ city championship for girls soccer (I played a very small part in that). I worked with some incredible admin and a department and staff that were amazingly supportive and encouraging, and endearingly dysfunctional. And at the end of the semester, the outpouring of goodwill from students and colleagues as I said my goodbyes made me, I’m not ashamed to say, a little emotional. (But no tears).

So I’ve said this to a bunch of people, but I want to repeat it here before I mentally transition fully into summer vacation: it was an absolute privilege teaching at Merivale this year. I’m taking memories (and some really heartwarming gifts) that I hope I’ll hold onto until I’m senile, and connections that hopefully will not fade with time. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I have the opportunity to return there someday.

And to my students (who will always be my students, cuz that’s just the way I am) who apparently sometimes read this rambling blog, a wise man once said, “Everything ends, and it’s always sad. But everything begins again, too, and that’s always happy. Be happy. I’ll look after everything else.”

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