The night before I reported to may last day of the 2017-2018 school year, I lay awake. That was not a surprise since I have spent many nights awake, wondering what the morrow might bring. Usually it is before the first day of school, not the last. I tend to fret about beginnings, but endings can be just as stressful.
Because of change. After twenty-one years, I can walk down a hall and attempt to generate a list in my head of all the teachers who have occupied this classroom or that. The names don't come as easily now as they once did. Many of them come from associations with another. Groups or grade levels are easier to assemble than individuals. More slots are opening for the Fall, and I will be that steady presence one more time. I know where the bodies are buried.
Not really. But I do know where the cases of paper clips that were ordered in excess ten years ago sit in a darkened closet under the stairs. I know that the upstairs rooms heat up more quickly in the afternoons. I have a history that can be traced back to the days when ours was a year-round school. But if anyone really wants to know what is going on, I send them to our cafeteria supervisor, who has an additional decade on me.
And somewhere in the middle of the night this image came to me: A rock in the middle of a fast moving stream. Students, staff and parents tumble past and I sit there, altering their flow just by my presence. Many times I have looked up and wondered if it wasn't time to pick myself up and wander downstream to see what is happening there.
But I don't need to seek out change. Change comes to those who sit and wait. It's relativity. A few years back, I was anxiously awaiting Christmas break, and mentioned this to our cafeteria supervisor. Her wisdom was easy to grasp: "You'll wake up and it will be January." And so it goes with this summer. I will wake up and it will be August. There will be ice breakers and introductions and new students and staff. I will wonder once again just what it is that keeps me stuck in this spot. The answer is easy enough: The view from here is the same as if I were doing all the moving. Elementary school is Brownian Motion, but there is order in the chaos. Order I can see just by holding still.