Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today was the last day of school, and as relieved as I am to have a break, I’m also sad.

Really sad.

I have been incredibly lucky to land in a job that I love where I found my two best friends in the whole world. I met Pam the week before school started in 1999, and we clicked immediately. In 2001, Linda came on board. I haven’t stopped laughing since.

I’ve been across the hall or right next door to Pam for 13 years. We pop in and out of each other’s rooms all the time. Our current set-up has an adjoining door between our classrooms, and when it’s quiet in one room, we can hear the other teaching.

From Pam’s classroom: “x=2. What kind of line is that?”


“Are you kidding me? What kind of line is x=2?”

Me through the door: “Vertical!”

“See? Your English teacher knows!”

Every day before and after school, we leave the door open and talk to each other while we work at our desks.

Linda and I have taught a cross-curricular honors class for 11 years. I teach English and she teaches Social Studies. I throw Plato at them, and then she hits them with Machiavelli. Students work together in both of our classes to research global issues and produce documentaries. While I’m teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, she’s teaching civil rights.

Our personalities dovetail even better than our content. We’re both quick on our feet, and on days we combine our classes and teach together, it can turn into a comedy routine. We are such an effective tag team that in the last several years, demand for our class has taken it from one section to three.

The three of us have outlasted four principals. I’ve taught two of Linda’s kids and all three of Pam’s. They’ve taught both of mine.

We’ve gone on vacation together. We’ve spent countless weekends together, many of them starting with Friday after school staff meetings, a tradition we instituted to decompress at the end of each week.

For 11 years, I’ve taught shoulder to shoulder with these two amazing women. They are smart, funny, strong, and independent as hell. They have challenged me intellectually and made me a better teacher.

Mostly, they have been my friends. They have made me laugh until my stomach hurt, and they have propped me up and walked beside me through the most difficult times in my life. Outside of my family, there is no one I trust more than Pam and Linda. They always have my back.

Today was our last day as colleagues. Linda is retiring, and Pam is being deployed to Afghanistan in August. I feel like I’m losing not just my right arm, but my left as well. When Pam was deployed to Iraq several years ago, I still had Linda. Now I’m losing them both.

The old cliché says that the only constant is change. This particular change is hard to swallow. I have many friends at work, and I value those relationships, but nothing comes close to the bond I have with Pam and Linda.

Here’s the thing, though. One of the reasons we are such good friends is that we are each strong women in our own right. Linda is brave enough to leave the familiar and take on the next challenge in her life. She’s going to learn Italian and go to bartending school just because she thinks it would be an interesting part-time job. Pam puts on her uniform regularly and serves her country. She’s a bonafide badass.

I’ll be okay too. I hold leadership positions in our school, and I have some control over my own destiny. Tomorrow, I will sit on the committee interviewing candidates to replace Linda…as if that’s possible. I love being in my classroom with students doing my thing. I’ll learn to fill the spaces in between classes without my right and left arms.

I have a feeling that learning curve will be steep.

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