Today was the first day of school. Teachers and staff had everything finished. The building was (mostly) ready, the students looked wonderful in their new clothes, toting new backpacks filled with notebooks, pencils, and pens. (I harbor a secret desire to own a stationery store because then I could feed my own office supply addiction at cost.)
My first stop this morning was to sit in on the Jr. High and High School orientation. We have a few new policies and procedures so Principal Moore wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. Pastor Tom spoke briefly, encouraging everyone to treat others with the same respect they want to be treated with. Ah, the Golden Rule. It never goes out of style.
As I sat in the back row, I did a quick head count of “my” high school students. It was then I realized, with a little pain in my heart, that this was my last first day of school. After 8 years of teaching Language Arts I will hang up my hat at Life Church School and pass the baton to someone else next year.
During these moments, moving back to California seems almost too painful to think about. Leaving these kids who I have known since their birth will be one of the hardest things I’ll ever do. At the moment I am trying to force myself not to be maudlin. I know it is right to move because, after all, there are children there who need to learn the wonders of a great story and of an amazing God. I doubt I will leave my teaching days behind me in Missouri and that is some consolation.
The two classes I teach went swimmingly today. The ninth graders were properly petrified by my reputation of being a “hard teacher”. The tenth graders tried to assure them that I’m not the bad, although Daniel F. told them I “almost never” let someone leave to go to the bathroom during class. (True!)
It will be a great year, full of its own joys and challenges. I’ll pour myself out again, perhaps for the last time on this particular land and when it’s time, leave these students in the hands of God.