"Delay is the deadliest form of denial."
- C. Northcote Parkinson
On 03/09, I woke up at 5:00 am. I didn’t need to wake up until 6:00 am. But school weighed on my mind like a chest infection presses on someone’s lungs. My daughter was sick on Monday, so I stayed home. Tuesday was an early release day, so I didn’t teach most of my classes. And my last day was going to be Friday. How could I possibly cram all I wanted to do with these students in three teaching days?
The emotional side was getting to me too.
Two weeks ago, one parent came in and gave me a goodbye gift because she wasn’t sure the exact day I was leaving. (At that point I wasn’t exactly sure either). She gave me a lovely potted orchid. In my card, she called me an “inspirational teacher”.
That made me feel good.
Last week, walking the halls, I heard the line, “Dead man walking”.
It was all a ruse. This is not my school. Even though the projects my students did in my class are plastered all over the walls, these are not my classes. These are not my students.
Since February break I’ve been writing more. I’ve written more than 10k. The end of my WIP Naked Eye is on the horizon. This is what I do. When one aspect of my life is falling apart, I flee to another. Since I started on October 15th I knew I was supposed to leave the school at the end of February/beginning of March.
“She won’t come back,” the other teachers insisted.
At first I couldn’t hear it. It was overwhelming and I couldn’t imagine making it to March, let alone June.
Then I couldn’t dare to believe it. Can’t build up hope only to have it crumble before your eyes.
In early February, I was told she would come back the first week of March. On a Friday. I teared up a little driving home. On Sunday I found out my short story would be included in 100 Stories for Queensland 100 Stories for Queensland . That softened the slap.
Remember the post way back. My first couple of weeks into the job, an 8th-grade student (The one with the Breck Girl hair) asked, “If you’re not still here, will you come to our graduation?”
I replied, “I don’t know. I’ll try.”
Last week, the same girl asked, “Will you come to our 8th-grade graduation?”
“I think so. I’ll have to take a day off.” She gave me a look. “But money is less important than relationships.” She smiled.
The week she’d return loomed ahead. I began asking for a specific date.
On 03/08 I asked to confirm the date. No response.
On 03/09, the morning I woke up too early with too much on my mind, I went to my school mailbox. Inside was a card with a box of truffles. I opened the card. It read:
Dear Ms. Milstein,
I hear that Ms. (Redacted) is returning. I wanted to Thank You for taking over for her. (Student) loved your class Social Studies is his favorite subject. I'm sorry to see you leave. Hope you'll come back again.
I teared up as I climbed the stairs.
1st period I spent preparing to leave material about a student whose IEP meeting I’d miss. Then I went to the office to confirm my departures date. I was told my last day on my own would be 03/11. We’d transition on 03/14. They’d just make sure.
My 2nd period class had me laughing as they acted out African folktales. One boy agreed to play a girl part and borrowed a neon green wig. I was going to miss them.
3rd period, I was told to call the office.
Turns out 04/04 is the new date.
Dead man got an appeal.
Looks like I get to enjoy these students a little longer.