Friday, May 27, 2016

On the Threshold of Being

Last night my senior class graduated. My first batch. Kids who are no longer kids, and yet not quite adults. Persons on the threshold of being.

Last August I too was on the threshold of being per say. I was a new teacher in a new place, and I wrote myself this note which I read today for the first time since writing it:

Dear Miss Badger, 

Well ma'am, you're 2 1/2 weeks through your first year as a high school teacher and you are surviving. Your life has completely changed in so many ways, but it's been all good. Stressful but good. 

Remember these students. You love them now, but you're trying to figure them out still. I hope we're beginning to know how to get students engaged in reading literature. Right now they only slightly care about Beowulf. Mostly because it's bloody. Today [name omitted] and [name omitted] nearly made you wet yourself by quoting the chocolate episode of Spongebob. They're ridiculous, but you love them. Keep loving them. They are your priority. 



That person from a mere ten months ago seems so distant, so young, so naive, so different, and yet even after the end of a long--yet not so long--year, I still feel I am on the threshold of being. I have one full year behind me, but many more to go. I am a teacher now, but not quite a "veteran teacher" not quite a "seasoned teacher", still not quite fully anything. But I have come to find that "veteran" does not mean "perfect", and "seasoned" does not always mean "better". Being on the threshold of being has not made me less valuable, less knowledgeable, or less skilled, it's simply transitory. And everyone has to transition. Everyone has to have a first time, a first year, a first class, a first leaving, and a first entering. And now as my students wait at the threshold between being who they have been and who they might be, I too wait at the threshold of one year over and another year beginning, to hover between the student and teacher I have been and the teacher I might be.

I have come to enjoy the thrill of the threshold, the anticipation of new things to come with only the memories of old things now passed to push me to cross that threshold again. My students passed over my classroom threshold never to return as students; but as I pack up my classroom for the summer, I cross the threshold to return. That is what I like about the threshold: while some are permanent leavings, there are other thresholds that we may cross many times and the beauty is not in the leaving, but in the returning.

July 2015
May 2016


  1. Thank you for sharing your reflection. You are such a great teacher and will get even better as the years go by. I look forward to watching you grow.

  2. There are few things I have done that help me learn and love more than struggling to understand and connect with my students so that what I share can be not only useful for them but become a part of them. In doing so they become part of me and I am better for it. Good Job teacher.