It’s nice to come back from vacation and not feel terrible about going to work. This morning, as I stood in the bathroom brushing my teeth, I realized that I felt excited to see my students. Walking down the hallway toward my classroom at school, I felt a crispness in the air that I associate with the beginning of a school year (It is fall here, I suppose) and one that always makes me feel a little nervous in my stomach. Excited nervous.
There is just this last quarter left of the school year. Five more until my contract is over. Seems hard to believe that time has passed this quickly. And yet, when I think about next year, it’s hard to believe how much time is left. It feels like I’ve been here for a long time–all the learning I’ve had in these nine months has been like three years’ worth. And yet I still feel so new here, which only makes sense since it’s been a matter of months only that I’ve been able to call this place a home.
My students have been the ones who’ve made it easiest for me to feel at home. I have them to thank for comfort because when I feel either most upset or most confused, it’s my students who ground me with their scatterings of irrelevant questions during a Shakespeare lesson, or a funny noise or funny face, or a story about something that happened over the weekend that makes me laugh. And their kindness. I am eternally grateful for my students’ kindness.
Maybe that sounds overly emotional or goofy for a teacher to write. But it’s true and I can’t deny my thankfulness for them because as a foreigner, I take comfort where I find it–in any shape or size. It’s nice to have Dennis with me as comfort and as a reminder of home, yes. But he’s not with me all the time. When I look back on this year and find the constants, it’s been my students and work and writing that’s kept my keel even. I must confess though, that I’m a little nervous for next year–will my kids next year be half as amazing as my kids this year? I guess no teacher ever forgets her first class. And while these kids are certainly not my first class, they have been my first class in my first overseas job. And they’ve made this whole experience so far one of the hardest and most enjoyable experiences I could imagine.