Today, Thursday May 20, 2010 is my final day as an administrator at Maplewood Middle School. In the fall Maplewood will begin anew when opening its doors to an estimated 600 elementary level students. While I have little to no fear of moving on to new opportunities, Maplewood will survive like that first childhood kiss I experienced so many years ago.
Fresh out of grad school, Maplewood extended what has become my initial adminstrative opportunity. And as it was (for me) as a teacher, I am again convinced to have learned and benefited more from my students than vice versa. They are the heart e e cumming's speaks of in his famous poem, i carry your heart with me.
Flaco had no idea that yesterday would be his last as an eighth grader. He had recently returned to la vida loca. A few weeks ago I noticed the shift; late to school, tired eyes, blue dickies, locs behind the neck, and the gangsta limp. Early in our concluding conversation I recognized we had lost him long before, that the few months he managed to divert trouble was simply his own momentary lapse of reason. "Ya estuvo, I am done Tijerina, just can't do this school thing and todas las reglas no more." He pulled a blue rag from his right back pocket and continued by saying, "Este paño, mi jefe me lo dio before he was sent up for bangin'." I accompanied him outside through the front entrance. The stubborn wind and its snapping of the flailing American flag had no effect on Flaco. There was no hug, no handshake, nor departing phrase. His gesture of goodbye was a suttle backwards tilt of the head and he was gone. In a distance I could see his father's blue with white speckled paisly bandana echando una cumbia con el aire.
It was after Flaco had turned the corner going west that I recalled the latter lines of the cummings's poema, "here is the deepest secret nobody knows / (here is the root of the root and bud of the bud / and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows / higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) / and this is the wonder that is keeping the stars apart / i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)."