This windowlessclassroom thing is new to me. I used to be in a window-less Classroom but at least my cinder block walls were a ‘classroom’. But I opted to give that up. With it, came a new meaning for September. I no longer had to go back to school. No shiny pencils, new planner, gone was the potential of the new projects budding. No new students to get to know. It’s all a bit strange as September has always been a back to school month for me. Mind you there were years where I was writing my thesis year round or where back to school happened in February of the southern hemisphere but by in large, most of my life, September = school. How about that?
Its been feeling rather empty. I miss my students. A lot. But does that mean I’m done teaching or learning? Not at all. I went on a run and found myself at a pond. The exact kind of aquatic biosphere I taught about from a textbook. It was quiet. But then the frogs got comfortable with my silence and voiced their opinions. I noticed the newt who I had engaged in a staring contest with. I wondered if it noticed the other newt beyond the rock that was only visible from my perch. I tried talking to the newt, the sound of my voice nearly deafening after the silence we had all grown comfortable with. He looked at me as if I was mad and swam away. In the opposite direction of his other newty friend. There were also dragonflies all around. Waterbugs everywhere. As I watched their erratic behavior I wondered why they swam in such tight circles in random patterns.
I found myself observing the ecosystem in a way I hadn’t when it was only visible from a flat page in a text book. I wish my students were there. All of a sudden these pangs of desire to be back in my classroom did a 180 and instead of wanting to be there with them, I wanted them to be here with me. Truly the outside world is a great classroom, so much better than a textbook. September has been a loaded month for me, and I’m sure only one of many more to come. But in that moment on that pond observing the world around me, I knew that I still had much to learn about myself and my world.