For the past 7.5 years, this has been my view at the start and end of the day.
From the front of the room, I would look out and see and feel a few different things.
Sometimes hope. Occasionally excitement. Always a mix of pressure and exhaustion and curiosity.
You never know what's going to happen in the 7 hours you're at the helm of your classroom. That's one of the things that makes teaching such a great profession.
It's also what makes it so demanding and frustrating.
I have wonderful students. They're high achieving and interesting and kind and they do their best to give a damn about the math that I think is so interesting.
It isn't interesting to them. But they fake it, and I love that about them.
They're nice kids.
But they aren't my kids.
So I'm leaving them for a month to be home with my own child.
It's sort of a temporary retirement. I'm stepping away from what has been my life for just shy of a decade, in order to try my hand at something new.
It's a weird feeling, knowing that I won't be back at the job that has defined me as a person until February. Teaching has changed my outlook on life and the future of our youth, mostly in a good way.
These kids aren't as bad as people seem to think.
They use their cell phones constantly. But you know what, they're still socializing. It's just different than what we're used to.
They don't want to do their history or math or English homework. Did you really like doing your homework when you were 15? Be honest. I doubt you did.
Kids today are lazy. Maybe some are. But the ones I know are involved in so many sports and clubs and outside activities, PLUS they maintain their grades and social interactions. They may seem lazy when it comes to doing things they don't want to do. But most of these kids certainly are not lazy.
The kids are alright.
And I'll miss them. But this is what's going to define me moving forward. Who I am as a father and husband will depend on how I handle the changes we will experience this year.
I want to start off the right way, so I am saying goodbye to my students.
Not forever. Just until February.
Hang in there, guys. Pretend to love math and I'll pretend to love changing diapers.
We can do this.