Going Home

I can't say I've spent much time thinking about high school since graduating from it. I was bored at my high school graduation; it was May in Texas, and I was hot, and I was wondering what the hell I was doing there. I had taken enough college classes my senior year of high school that I didn't really feel like I was there anymore. I had already moved on, and graduation seemed like an exercise in redundancy.

Over the years, high school has come up now and then--at reunions with my best friends from those years, who I still keep in contact with, on a date when he asks if I play an instrument, when asked to explain where I'm from--but mostly it's been buried in my memory. Most of my pre-college years have, really. My mom, still living in my hometown, texts me periodically to say so-and-so's mom is the new school nurse (she's a teacher, too) or I ran into so-and-so at that restaurant you haven't thought of in ages and most of the time I can't remember who she's talking about. Eventually, I might place the name, locate them spatially in memory, but I don't actually remember them.

From talking to other people, I know that this is not uncommon, to not look back, to not remember, to let parts of your life slip away. That doesn't stop part of me from feeling bad about it, especially when I encounter things like this Billy Crystal interview in which he seems to remember absolutely everything, even things that must not have seemed important at the time. I would love to have a memory like that, to hold on to detail with such clarity. But in truth I have a fairly foggy mind; things swirl around and confuse themselves in there if left for more than a moment or two. My mind is an old house that needs dusting a few times a day, and I absolutely hate dusting.

In June I announced that I was looking for a new teaching position. In July I got a call from my old high school--my mom had wasted no time in encouraging me to apply in Seguin, and after discovering that they did actually have an open English teacher position at the high school and my boyfriend encouraging me to apply to keep my options open, I had applied. The call came on a Monday, the interview happened on Tuesday, I was offered the position about an hour after the interview ended, and Thursday I went in and signed the paperwork. In August I completed two weeks of professional development and started teaching a new course at a new (old) high school.

So now here I am, back at this place that I surely never planned to come back to, and it's strange. It's strange how, walking the halls, I have so little memory attached to the classrooms, to the hallways. I've forgotten how to get around to the areas I didn't traffic a lot as a student, like the gym, though to be fair to myself, the school is now under construction. I do remember the teachers I had that are still there very clearly, and I now work closely with some teachers who were there when I was a student, but whom I never had. It's strange to compare the policies of the school then and now, and the behavior of the students. It's strange to think, a kid never would've said that to a teacher when I was in school, and it's the very same school. It's strange that when I was in school, cell phones were just beginning to be popular, and just about all you could do on them was text or play Snake, and now I'm dealing with students answering Facetime calls and playing video games and Snapchatting. It's strange how, from how the kids talk about it, Band seems exactly the same. 

Part of what makes it strangest of all is that I spent 4 years living where hardly anyone knew me. In Virginia, I was from somewhere else, somewhere far away, and while many people knew or wanted to know Austin, no one knew my hometown. To go from being from somewhere else to being from here is a strange jump, one I have to re-orient myself to every day. 

I had really mixed feelings about going home. In some ways, it seemed like a downgrade from working in a big school district like Austin, it was a pay cut, and the young me who couldn't wait to get out of there fought the adult me who couldn't say no to a job offer without a good reason. But then it also seemed cool in a way to go back to my old high school, and I really did get some good opportunities there and I liked the idea of being able to pay it forward in that community. Plus, the position I was being offered was a Junior English class, and I loved the idea of having slightly older students and more literature-heavy coursework. 

Avoiding Austin traffic didn't hurt either.