XXXI: First Batch

Teaching is hard.

I have made so many mistakes.
I have created so many stressful situations.
I have said so many incorrect things.

Teaching is hard.

I was fortunate enough to go on a field trip with some of our students today. This landed me in an amusement park from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM on possibly one of the most gorgeous days of the year. However, as it turns out, we were not the only school inside the park on this day.

After releasing our students I sat at a table for 45 minutes; that was my job for the morning in the event something happened to one of our darlings. Nearing the end of my shift a man sat down at the next table. His shirt was blue and read the follow…

East Buchanan Bulldogs

I knew this man! He was the assistant basketball coach while I was in high school. I sat down next to him, incredibly he remembered my name after ten years, and we started talking. I learned that two individuals I graduated with from high school now teach 7th grade students in the middle school we grew up in. I found them all in the park today. The man I compared notes; I suppose like teachers do. We talked about expansion, testing, demographics, and just how times have changed.

Man, times have changed.

After speaking with him for a few minutes I wandered the park. I road five roller coasters, overcame my previous fear of going upside down, ate three cheeseburgers, and thanks to the air from the coasters, my beard is extremely ‘poofy’ this evening.

School ends next Friday.

Heading home this evening I watched my students. They were my students this year. I had to be responsible for instructing them about the social sciences for nine months. I attended countless meetings, several observations, training sessions, and many sleepless nights. I learned new languages, discovered different cultures, and researched just about everything I could think up about these strange 12-13 year old children.

Today is started to settle in that after next week…they’re gone. Now I do sound like a true teacher. Even though I gained wrinkles, lost weight and sleep, and they frustrated me to no end on several weeks; my kids are leaving*.

This is the part of teaching they try to warn you about, but you refuse to listen. You will be heartbroken when you realize that your students are growing up and they are no longer yours. From the selfish perspective that is a really hard pill to swallow.

Besides, they’re just going to 8th grade. They will all just be a hall below me next year. It is an easy thing to think until after the trip today I found an 8th grader standing by themselves, alone, waiting for their ride to pick them up. They were one of my cross country runners and they were one of the first students I met, when they were in 6th grade and I was a new substitute in the building. We spoke about their attitude, their brain, and the fact that they have such a bright future. What I didn’t realize, in such pathetic nature, was that my voice started cracking when I started talking about their future.

I already know that I struggle talking and interacting with my peers. It is so, so much easier to communicate with students. However, those students are leaving. and even though I get a new batch next year, that realization is so saddening.

Today was a hard day for me. I thought I was ready for the summer, I thought my mental countdown placed me in with all the teachers in the state, but at second glance…I want to be selfish. I want to hold onto my kids. I want to watch them grow and I want to be there to guide them. Is that the wrong thing to think in the month of May?

Tomorrow, in my classroom, will be the last ‘in class’ day as next week consists of field day, field trips, career day, assembly events, etc…This means that at 3:00 PM my normal class schedule is done for my first year of teaching.

In the normal, adult working world my brain couldn’t handle the day-to-day activities.
In the strange, student-centric world of education my heart is really struggling to the handle the realization of the end.

Is that fair for a first year teacher to say?

Teaching is hard.

I have learned so many new faces.
I have created so many relationships.
I haven’t said enough to show that I love my kids.

Teaching is hard.


*I’m going to be an emotional mess when I’m a parent.

O: Distance

How do we measure distance?

Rulers? Weights? Memories?

It’s been a productive day in the psychotic style of my life’s choosing. Stores were established, phone calls were made, money transferred, phone calls made, and coffee consumed. It was another day.

While I was at the bank today I was sorting through some money and getting the paperwork ready for the poor soul of a teller that was going to have to tell me that my math was wrong again. So, I made sure to state that I needed “X” amount of this bill, that bill, and this change; all adding up to the sum.

What was incredible about this sensation was not what was located in 2013, nor 2012, but the instant sensation of 2011. Strange enough?

It’s a memory; I recall going through the same procedure when making daily deposits at the Subway I was working in down south. It was a daily task of mine [and gave me a chance to slip out of the store for a few minutes]. It led me back to working inside a sandwich shop inside a food court inside a regional mall.

It’s incredible to reflect back on March of 2011 and not have regrets of the time. Life, amazingly, was simpler. I had been with Subway [again] for about a month, my wife at the time was getting ready to sign a teaching contract, and I was in and out of area high schools as a substitute teacher. We had gym memberships, a comfy apartment, and a new life. After the doom and confusion of the winter had emerged the opportunity for a second run at a new life, and to get things right. It appeared that’s what was life was going to be; right. Naturally I had no idea of what the following months would ensue, but for the moment I kind of had it all.

That’s all a memory recollected while filling out a transaction slip at the bank today.

Like everyone else in the world I find it astonishing when what felt like yesterday quickly fades into the realm of a mere memory. When talking to people about Subway, I forget how long ago I started with the company [both in store and corporate], and how long I’ve ‘been home’, and even the details of the events that led to the life I have.

Fascinated, I sit on my couch this evening [yes, I have a couch finally], and stare at the blank wall impressed by how fast time does go by.

I would almost think that it was a blessed assurance that I was starting to forget moments of a life before the one I currently have, but aside from bitterness and sorrow there are images that are played in the back of my head that bring about happiness and hope.

It’s startling to imagine that two years from now many of these moments will simply be bottled up in a filing cabinet at the back of my mind, but memories do take place for the sake of reflection, and to also expand space for new ones to form.

As strange as it sounds, as my temper has cooled after nearly two years, I kind of miss the life that I once lived. When the world aligned and life looked fine. That being said though, I quickly have to recognize that, that time was a moment when I decided to settle for what was and chose not to seek out what could be.

This post is definitely a rambling muse, but as spring descends on us once again I can’t help but push forward the notion of change. Reflecting on what was, compared to what is; realistically I have no space to complain. A wonderful relationship, an incredible church family, a group of individuals set into motion with a soccer business that continue to blow my mind on a daily basis, all placed in a world that is beautiful to me. Those are things are untouchable and will always be cherished, but for now…there is much to be learned, loved, and lived.


Mobile Minutes: Spring Rain


It’s been raining most of the day.
Not that cold, nasty, winter rain.That warm rain, the one where you feel the humidity in the air, a light, warm, southwestern breeze.
It’s that rain I lost down south, the rain that soothed my soul. The reminder of cleansing and changes of seasons.
This time last year there was over 13″ of snow on the ground. The whole area was paralyzed. Frigid temperatures, and misery for all. My diet consisted of Ramen noodles, triscuits, and whatever my ex-wife brought home from Chili’s after work. I just started back at Subway. Income was flowing in. Bills were getting paid. Change was taking place.
I just didn’t realize how much.
Now I’m sitting outside of a Starbucks, deep into the metro of Kansas City, Kansas. My wife is gone, my life is nuts, and the rain has seemed to change.
I’ve seemed to change.
Before I embark on my journey back home for the night, only to revisit these seats tomorrow; I leave not words of my own, but of a writer far greater than I:

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for anotherday! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

…I never went back.