June is the only month I keep a calendar, that is, a written-out datebook. All the other months of the year, I am fully capable of keeping everything in my head. I rarely forget appointments July through May, but in June, it’s all about iCalendar. The month is filled with half-days, professional development days, graduations, award ceremonies, field trips, endings and beginnings. The image of Janus, the two-faced god who faces both forward and behind, seems more appropriate to this month than any other.
This year, I move on June 1st, living in Brooklyn for the first time in 8 years in New York City. I am surrounded by my belongings packed in cardboard, with more still to pack. I’ll be living with a roommate again after two years on my own, and I’ll be moving into a smaller space again, the better to save money as I start a new lifestyle. It’s a bit complicated – I’m moving into a share for two months, then the roommate will move out, I will take over the lease, and I will need to find a new roommate. If you know anyone nice, smart, and sane looking for a place around August 1st, let me know. I’m really excited to get to know the new apartment and then try my hand at studied re-decoration. The bathroom is TINY and cluttered with shelves, so I think I need to take a good look at it and the solutions available at IKEA, ContainerStore, etc., pull out all the shelves – come August – clean & repaint in a color that feels spacious, and then install shelves in a more thoughtful way. The kitchen storage situation also needs a little work, so that’s another project. And my bedroom is currently painted red and green – it’s better-looking than it sounds – so I’ll have to live with that for a while and see if I like it or want something else.
I told some of my students that I wouldn’t be coming back next year – it came up naturally as part of an end-of-year events conversation. I spun it as reaching out for new opportunities, which is true, though being really, really tired and ready for a lower-stress job that still means something is also part of it. When I said I was leaving to become a writer, one girl asked if I was going to write a book about them.
It’s time to revise curriculum maps. I annotated mine and color coded standards based on whether we covered them or not and how well I think the kids learned them. We only completed about 1/2 to 2/3 of the city’s curriculum, and one part of me feels like I failed in some way, and another part knows that I did important work with them that simply took a lot longer than the time budgeted by the city. Thinking about how to revise the plan for next year is hard and a little sad when you know you won’t be teaching it next year. I’m committed to my new job but will confess to having doubts about whether I should really be leaving teaching altogether. It is a job I’ve loved.
We took the sixth graders who qualified – about 40 of them – sailing on the Pioneer yesterday, down at the Seaport, and we filled the ranks with 7th and 8th graders. It was a sunny, beautiful day, and after some initial trouble due to mechanical problems with one of our buses, everything went just as planned. The kids were tired and happy when we dropped them off outside school – and so were we.
This Thursday was the last session of my personal essay class. My group really bonded, and people’s writing improved a ton, and we’re organizing a schedule to continue meeting, sans teacher, as a nonfiction writing group. It feels good to have compatriots as I try to launch this aspect of my writing career, clip-less wonder that I am at the moment. We range in age from 23 to 72, have advertising, teaching, non-profit, photography, editing, banking, and several other forms of work experience among us, are published or not, have something like gender balance, are married or single, with kids, without, desiring of them or not.
The endings are sad, but liberating. The beginnings feel risky, not-yet-thrilling though I think as the endings pass one-by-one, I’ll have more space in my head for excitement. I wonder about the people I work with, with whom I’ll remain friends, with whom I’ll fall out of touch. I wonder about the new people I’ll meet.