Monday April 12, 2010
It’s hot. I sit at my desk feeling the thick heat all around me, though under my skin I feel cold. The familiar chorus of students voices echoes around my classroom. Today is the first day of the last term I will teach at Fezeka.
This realization hit me the moment I woke up this morning, my sheets drenched and anxiety causing my heart to beat far too quickly. The sinking feeling was further deepened during morning assembly today, when the returning deputy principal reminded students that this is the shortest term they will have ever attended, with exams starting in only 3 weeks. The entire school calendar has been shifted because of the upcoming World Cup, and school breaks earlier than usual at the end of this term. I will not be back when it reopens.
It is a bittersweet reality, as my departure from Cape Town means I will soon be starting the next chapter of my life with my partner in London – something we have both been looking forward to for some time – at the same time it is almost impossible to ignore the feeling of deep sadness I feel at the thought of leaving. I told my barely half-full classrooms (attendance of the first few days of term is generally low) this morning about this being my last term at school. While I had told them this at the beginning of this year, they all visibly recoiled at the news and my grade 12s in particular asked me why I couldn’t stay to see out their final year.
One of my students came into my classroom this afternoon and gave me poem he had written me. I got as far as the second stanza before my eyes blurred with tears and I had to put it down. And I am still here for another 4 months. How will I be the day of my departure?