What I’ll miss about teaching.

February 13, 2008

Friday is my last day of teaching.

I’ll miss it.

I’ll miss walking to class in the morning & seeing freshman Adam waiting for friends near the parking lot, blowing into his cold fists & politely waving to me. I’ll miss thinking in my head, “Calm outside of class, bonkers in class . . . of course.”

I’ll miss approaching the classroom & seeing Jimmy waiting by the door, quietly returning my “good morning”, & not coming into class for another two minutes while I turn on the lights & turn on the radio.

I’ll miss the handful of students who begin the minute they walk into class: “Ms. Ha-an . . . I’m so tired!”, “I don’t know what to do!”, or “Yesterday was horrible!”

I’ll miss calling for homework, counting to three as the students yell, “Wait! No! My name! What’s the assignment number? Pass it up! Hurry!”

I’ll miss wracking my brains for a journal topic for the day. A current event? A deeper question about life? A funny, random question?

I’ll miss telling the students to take a dictionary for their bathroom pass & to learn a word before they come back.

I’ll miss hearing Jimmy & Jether “argue” about who dropped the chapstick & who needs to pick it up.

I’ll miss senior Adam’s randomness (“Ms. Han doesn’t get mad, she gets glad”) & songs about fanny packs.

I’ll miss mathematical Kirandeep asking exactly how many lines & sentences she needs to write to get full credit.

I’ll miss Kelvin, our one-man show, dancing to entertain us.

I’ll miss Sarah’s heavy silences, full of unspoken thoughts & feeling.

I’ll miss seeing Skye’s green Mexico Missions hooded sweater with a cross in the front.

I’ll miss Danny coming up to me with a scrap of paper in his hand, a newly written poem that he wants me to look over.

I’ll miss watching Julian go from, “What’s the point of this?” to intense, concentrated enthusiasm.

I’ll miss Naslen’s dripping “Awwww, Ms. Han”s during class.

I’ll miss Robert asking me to check his work every 5 minutes, dramatically complaining with a “C’mon Ms. Han, don’t stomp on my creativity!” whenever I correct something.

I’ll miss Rachel’s ability to put her heart to paper, touching the class with her words (& me).

I’ll miss seeing only Richard’s head lift up whenever I deliver a spoonerism or any slip of the tongue. He looks at me & gives me a “Wait, did you just say what I think you said?” look, as I laugh to myself.

I’ll miss shy Gieser trying to push his smile down with his upper lip & using his hand when he’s really trying not to laugh.

I’ll miss mischievous Josh & Adam, trying to melt my stern look with their “I’m innocent” smiles.

I’ll miss laughing at Kristen’s dramatic “You hate me!” comments whenever I assign something she doesn’t want to do.

I’ll miss seeing my candy box slowly dwindle away as hungry hands sneak its contents during class. I’ll miss labeling the last piece of candy with a note — “CANDY THIEF!” — & later hearing the guilty candy thief, Kenny, laugh during class.

I’ll miss telling Rene, the human jukebox, to keep his music in his head during class.

I’ll miss my break time visitors, Jackie & Jessica. I’ll miss hearing Jackie’s freshman-year school woes in her baby voice; I’ll miss Jess’s quiet, serious, “little sister”-like mannerisms.

I’ll miss Satvir coming in every break & lunch, sitting perched on the edge of a desk, swinging her legs back & forth.

I’ll miss Manuel’s updates about how his soccer team played in the weekend tournament. I’ll miss scrounging around to find him something to eat.

I’ll miss talking to Louana about cooking & sewing during lunch.

I’ll miss pulling out my Barry Bonds bear when the students are reluctant to talk during a class discussion. The bear is tossed from speaker to speaker. (Yes, the stuffed animal trick still works in high school!)

I’ll miss the delight of watching a student “get it” & then “love it” (e.g., with poetry).

I’ll miss enjoying the company of 120 students a day . . . each an individual, thinking, feeling, despairing, hoping, struggling, living person. It wears me out, but it’s a content-weariness at the end of the day.

I’ll miss being able to see their faces, being able to walk among them as I silently pray for them.

I guess, in the end, I won’t miss the teaching itself; I’ll miss my students.

Two more days of teaching. Two more days, & I may never see some of them again. But I pray I might yet see them (every single one of them) in a more lasting city than this one . . .


11 Responses to “What I’ll miss about teaching.”

  1. Derek Wong Says:

    Oh reading that makes me a little sad for you even though I don’t even know any of the people! I think that it’s always a little bit scary when you’re moving from one place to another (even though I don’t even know where you are moving to in this particular instance).

    In any case, good luck, Leticia Han. πŸ™‚

  2. tia Says:

    I’m not moving from San Jose quite yet :] just from teaching (my “contract” was only for August-end of February).

  3. Derek Wong Says:

    Oh actually I didn’t mean physically moving, just metaphorically so. But thanks for clarifying nonetheless!

  4. tia Says:

    haha, woops.

    my brain is only working at half capacity these days. it’s not even reliable at full capacity, so if you can imagine what it’s like at half-capacity . . .


  5. nathaniel Says:

    loved it.

  6. cathiekimn Says:


  7. Courtney Says:

    You took me back to high school with that one. Thanks for sharing Tia. I love reading your thoughts. πŸ™‚

  8. e Says:

    I can totally relate here….even though there’s excitement when it’s the end of the school year, sometimes you just wish it could last just a little longer….sometimes…

  9. jennifer lee Says:


  10. Ge' Says:

    hmmmm… i’ll wonder if you said not miss all the teaching experience πŸ˜‰

  11. tia Says:

    Ge’: not “the teaching itself” πŸ˜€

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