I will admit it: I am officially in countdown mode.
Once Memorial Day weekend arrives it’s just a matter of reviewing for finals and finalizing grades.
This is also the time of year that I begin to reflect upon the overall. The usual introspective “Was I effective as a teacher?” thing that often ends up with the “Maybe I should look into retirement” nudges.
Yes, there were plenty of successes: students embracing the new research paper format; scores for state testing going beyond stated requirements (at least in one class); finding lost papers.
Yet, I dwell upon those perceived failures: that one class, that one student, that one unit that didn’t quite, that didn’t quite–that, well, wasn’t quite a success.
Maybe retirement would be a good idea.
Thoughts like that prompt me towards a library run and lunch out. And that’s when I am handed a providential reprieve.
In a small town like ours it is inevitable I run into students, both present and former. They bag my groceries, fill up my water glass, complete my Penney’s purchase, and serve my food. This one I couldn’t remember her name, or if I actually had her as a student. So I feign the friendly, “Hey, how’s it going?”
Then the question pops up: “Do you still teach English?”
I guess I do look like I’m retired. We talk as she wraps up my purchase. She was in my class when I taught freshmen (that was a ways back). I wonder silently if she gained anything from the class. Five years ago…That’s going back a ways. Then she says, “I remember we read To Kill a Mockingbird.” I wait for her reflection, her possible judgement. “I named my cat Atticus.”
A cat named Atticus.
Yup, I can put off retirement for at least one more year.