Last day of classes! And I feel rotten. Didn't sleep well. Dreamed of floods. Woke with a rotten headache. Please may I be excused from class today?
Fortunately, I don't have to think very deeply in today's classes since we are reviewing for the exam in one and doing some final peer review in the other. Instead, I'll think about all the things I'll miss when classes are over:
You know that one guy who always has something interesting to say about the reading because he has not only read the required texts but also read lots of other things and thus understands both content and context? I'll miss him--a lot. I don't get students like that every semester.
My neighbor in the next office has provided laughter and insight and new ideas, but he is moving to a real city without even a job in prospect--because he can. I'll miss him but I sincerely hope that the college will hire someone to fill his spot, not just in the curriculum but in that office. Otherwise, our little hallway will get really lonely.
I'm teaching mostly first-year students in the fall so I'll miss my English majors, especially the one who seemed so annoying at first but who grew on me over time and the one who always comes in with a smile and something cheerful to say and always writes spectacular papers.
I'll miss the graduating senior with the personalized peanut-butter jar and the one with the impressive camera and the one who likes to flash that big, bright Pioneer smile. I hope they all have Pio-tastic lives and come back to see us sometime.
And I'll miss the great works of literature I've taught this semester, the daily encounters with writers as diverse as Yann Martel, Zora Neale Hurston, and Homer. I'll see many of them again in future class, but some will inevitably stay on the shelf. By the time I find myself immersed in Ruth Ozeki this fall, I will have forgotten everyone and everything that came before. Except that one guy....