“I have some news to tell you.”
My Aqua Zumba teacher gathered the class together in the pool before we began our morning workout.
“I’m moving back to Costa Rica at the end of July.”
While I was happy for her — she would be returning to her family and working with an ecotourism business — I was in dismay. Aqua Zumba is my favorite fitness class offered at the health club; it was my own version of “So You Think You Can Dance,” because when camouflaged by the water, I followed Anita’s cues and thought I could dance — and I knew I could work hard. I imagined the sweat Anita produced on dry land as she led us was reciprocated by my action in the pool. It was a great way to start the day, and, as we’d had a few (inferior) substitute teachers along the way, I was doubtful that anyone could replace Anita.
My belief that no one could adequately replace her caused me dismay — and helped me better understand the feelings of the students I won’t have in the fall.
“Chelsea sent me a message telling me to beg you not to leave,” my son Adam told me recently.
Chelsea is one of my homeroom students. I’ve had the same class for what we call “homebase” since they began their ninth grade year. This, their senior and final year at the Academy, they will have a different teacher for homebase and for English.
This is the first summer I haven’t spent preparing for an upcoming school year in some manner. I knew from the beginning of last school year that it would be my last year teaching, and so I worked from Day 1 to leave a legacy, to do my utmost to leave behind a path easily followed by another teacher, to make sure the students to whom I would not teach English would return to find the new teacher prepared and competent (and, likely, better than I ever was).