Certainties: I will not be able to sleep well tonight, nor will most students. But tomorrow will be fine, everyone pumped on adrenaline. Day two is the tough one, everyone dragging their sorry selves from room to room in haste—then sitting more or less still, which is unnatural, especially coming out of summer. Combined, the first two days feel like an attack on the body. By day three, my voice will be hoarse, and by day five or six, it’ll feel as if we never left. How quickly we adjust.
Dreads: Alarm clocks that go off. Alarm clocks that don’t go off. Collecting that first stack of papers to be graded. Dragging that stack home, then hauling the ungraded stack back the next day. Purple IDs on green lanyards. Really. Even with my minimal fashion sense, I’m feeling a little pukish just thinking about that.
Hopes: (1) That each day some spark of insight or curiosity or contentment ignites in our shared space, not because of something I said, but through the give and take and the sense of wonder that sometimes descends on people within the confines of a schoolhouse because of the dawning realization that this particular confluence of minds will never occupy this particular space ever again, and (2) that genuine listening happens as a result. These are modest hopes, the attainment of which never fails to satisfy me, year in and year out.