This morning I wrapped up calculating and writing my final grades and comments of the year. And, as it happens, my final grades and comments for Seven Hills School. And possibly my final grades and comments, period.
It's been an annual ritual for me since the end of the 1991-92 school year, but it's not one for which I have any actual fondness. For me, the best part of teaching isn't the planning or the assessment, but the time in the classroom. The before and after parts are a necessary evil, but evil they remain. Consequently, I can look at the possibility that I won't be doing it again without a twinge of regret. But the classroom time? That's less certain.
The thing that IS certain is that I will not be at Seven Hills next year. My head of school notified me a month ago that the school couldn't keep me on, and since then I've been making occasional attempts to find a new position while trying to finish meeting the demands of the old one. Now that classes are over and grades & comments are complete, all I have to do is supervise a few field trips and field day activities, put on a tie for graduation, and attend one last faculty party. There I'll say goodbye to the other departing teachers, as well as those the school can keep on (7HS has only 14 full-time faculty members) and head off into a rather uncertain summer break.
Though I've worked on one-year contracts since 1995, this is the first time I've ever left a job without leaving of my own volition. It's more than a little strange, at this juncture in one's career, to be negotiating such a change. Impostor syndrome makes occasional appearances, even though I know perfectly well that my skills as an educator had nothing to do with this decision; the teachers being released are those most recently hired, after all. At the same time, being let go makes it harder to muster the confidence you want to project when you go into a job interview. It doesn't help being past 50, when many of your contemporaries are thinking about retirement while you're starting over.
And starting over is definitely something I'm considering. The classroom has been my home for a long while, but I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier working somewhere else--somewhere I wouldn't have to spend every Memorial Day weekend churning through grades, say. Where that place might be is of course something of a mystery. Most of my work outside the classroom took place many years ago, so my expertise may not be terribly relevant. Even if there were record stores hiring, I doubt I could earn enough of a living using my Record Bar experience, and the radio world has gone pretty thoroughly digital since I did my time in the booth at WXYC. I could definitely see myself enjoying a job in radio, but whether there's one to be had I can't yet say.
Anyway, that's what's coming up this summer: finishing up the school year, moving to a new house, and searching for a new job. I'll get to put up my bird feeders again, and my parents may finally be able to deliver the canoe they've been trying to give us for a couple of years now, but there's a lot still unsettled. There is one certainty: I really, really hate job-hunting. But that's the hell I have to go through. And once I'm through, I may find that through is exactly where I want to be.