Lucky Thirteen.

The piles of papers I need to grade this weekend…I rotate and only do 5-10 from each stack, then move on to the next. I can actually get more done that way.

Thirteen school days remain in this school year. I can’t believe another year is nearly over. It doesn’t feel like the end of the year, probably because the weather has been so dreadful. It’s May 4, and I wore my parka to run errands this morning, my heater is on, and I’m bundled under a blanket, wearing jeans and a hoodie while I work today.

Thirteen school days remain, and I have much to accomplish. But I’m also feeling a bit melancholy about the end of the school year for two key reasons, one of which is today’s topic.

I’m not teaching English next year.

When I realized, six weeks into grad school, that I wanted to teach high school forever, I knew going back to Bellevue West would mean I’d probably teach English (I had been coaching speech, but it definitely took a toll on me). And I was okay with that, because chances were I’d go back to teaching sophomores. I loved sophomores.

But the open position when I graduated was to teach juniors, and I wasn’t too keen on that. I don’t really like American Literature. I knew there was a slim chance I’d get to teach AP Language and Composition, but that class is mostly non-fiction–which I love–so I could suffer through the American Lit with that class.

But in the past five years, I’ve fallen in love with Holden and Huck and Nick Carraway and John Proctor. I’ve learned from Mama Younger and Edna Pontellier, and cried with Amir and Hassan “a thousand times over.” I’ve cried over test scores and rejoiced over college acceptance letters and enjoyed a rich collaboration with my friends in the trenches of teaching junior English.

And through a series of completely miraculous circumstances, I am back to where my teaching career began thirteen years ago–Journalism. That was never the plan in the first place. Throughout my entire undergrad, I just knew teaching writing and literature was my calling. And then my student teaching assignment had me teaching journalism, and I fell in love with it.

Next year I’ll still be privileged to teach my beloved Pop Culture class, and still advise the newspaper, but instead of junior English, I’ll teach Journalistic Writing and Photojournalism/Publication Design.

The new classes will be a different kind of challenge and work, so it’s not like the piles in the photo above will disappear…they will just be digital piles instead. I’m sad to not teach English next year, but I’m excited for the next chapter in my teaching career.

I’ve had a lucky thirteen years so far–experiences I never would have imagined in those undergrad classrooms of English Literature seminars. So I’m looking forward to seeing what the next thirteen years brings me.

Odds are, it’ll be amazing.

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