Today was my first day back at Packemin. In case you are wondering, I didn't rescind my retirement. The community college gives a course to high school students on the Packemin campus (campus in the loosest sense of the word possible) and I have been teaching it for years. Since change is not something I am good at, I figured keeping the class would be a good way to ease out gradually.
I had mixed feelings walking into the building today. A couple of people were surprised to see me so I had to explain why I was back. I loved my class, but I always love that class. Walcott should know, but won't admit that part of its success is its cap at 25 students. The kids, while motivated, are not always the brightest and some have to be prodded to make it on time to period 1. But, with 25, it is easy to keep tabs on all of them. And, since we don't have any uniform exams, it is easy to let the kids lead the way, spend more time on the things that interest them and just let them enjoy learning the math. It is always a class in which fun and learning go hand in hand.
Last year's dysfunctional algebra kids, surprised to see me, gave me the warmest greeting ever. K, who did not pass hugged me so hard I thought I would break. (Last year, she let no one touch her.) A proudly told me he is taking intermediate algebra. I was so proud of him for working hard and overcoming his math deficiencies and I told him the new class would help prepare him for college. T came by to bitch, something she does well, and to hear my latest comments on her recent weave. (Last year I let her know every time it was tacky.) H told me about her new sister. I lived through her mom's pregnancy and was happy to hear all went well and the baby was female, as H had more brothers than she wanted.
The best part of the day was saying goodbye at 8:30 when the class ended and leaving for the day. I don't have to carrying the world on my back anymore. I don't have to worry about statistics or behavior problems or administrators peering in my room. I don't have to listen to someone who doesn't know the first thing about teaching telling me how to teach.
I have a feeling I am going to really enjoy being back in this way.