Saturday, October 22, 2016

Snapshots from the Saddest Week

--Even as I type that title, I think about all the ways it could be sadder.  I wish I came from the kind of tradition that had some sort of ritual to ward away possible evil futures.

--And as I type that title, I think about the word snapshots and wonder how long it will be before no one understands what that word even means.

--Yesterday my dean told me that I should go down to see the shrine to our faculty member who died suddenly in a diving accident on Saturday.  There were indeed some amazing pictures.  But I was more overwhelmed by all the messages that students had written.  They've taped them to the huge glass wall at one end of the building.

--I stood before those messages and thought, yes, our lives do matter, even if we're teaching a subject, like Ancient and Medieval Civilizations, that may seem remote to students.

--I've had good conversations with friends all week.  I like to think I'd be doing this anyway, but the diving death has certainly reminded me of the fleeting nature of it all.

--The death of our colleague is not the only loss at our school this week.  We've also had another Reduction in Force.  And our new student number was even worse than we were expecting, so the outlook is not rosy.

--On Oct. 31, I will be starting a new job at a different school (more details to come).   I am excited about the new opportunities and challenges, but sad to leave too.  I've been at my current school since 2002, first as an English faculty member and then as an administrator.  I will miss many people.

--I also miss many people who are no longer there.  It's fascinating to think about how many changes I've seen.  When I started, I could dream up an idea for a writing class in one month and be teaching it the next quarter; those days are no longer.

--Today I will go to the memorial service for our colleague--a fitting end to a sad week.  It will be good to mourn our loss together, and to celebrate a life well lived.

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