The Unavoidable Change

There is never a good way to say good bye. No matter how soon or how late you figure it out there will always be more you could have said.

Every year the month of March is filled with farewells. Students graduate and teachers get transferred, there is no getting around this unavoidable time of year.


Friday morning I watched as the vice principal walked from his desk to the north far wall, the same wall I face daily. In his hands he held a single piece of white paper. The printed ink upon it held the secrets of the names of those who would be leaving us.

He stood for just a moment in front of the dark green chalkboard, the paper and magnets in hand. He slowly lifted his hands to place the paper on the freshly cleaned smooth surface of the board. One magnet to each corner of the page, he took a slow and heavy step back. Then another, until his movements quickened and he hurried back to his desk.

The paper had been posted for all to see.

Teachers flocked to the board like kids swarm to candy. A hush fell over the small crowd of teachers as they politely crowded one another. Each one waiting their turn to find out what few already knew; what I already had been told.

Early that very same morning Sumitomo-sensei had sent me a message via Line.  The buzz from the vibration of my phone upon my table nudged me from my light slumber. I lazily reached for my phone. With sleep filled eyes I glanced at my shattered iPhone’s screen. One new message from Sumi.

Before I let my finger swipe right across the river of cracks on my screen, I could feel the the fierce sadness behind the first gimps at the home screens preview, “Good morning, Amanda! I have to tell you a sad news…’ Was all that could be seen.


It was in fact a sad, but it was heartfelt message.  She was warning me for what was to come that day; the posting of her transfer.

Sumitomo-sensei has taken me under her wing. She has always gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to her being my supervisor. She has become a good friend and a part of my ever growing Japanese family. I will never be able to thank her enough.

My heart sank. I was saddened by the news but little part of me was being a little selfish too. Because with her leaving Yanai Koko I am losing a reliable source. I am losing the key to many of my freedoms I have had over the last year and a half.

The worst part of it all is that she will be leaving her homeroom class behind. Messages from students have been flooding my inbox filled with their shock and sadness.

We will all miss her dearly.

Sumitomo-sensei isn’t the only one who will be leaving. Many other teachers will have to pack up their desks and move to the schools that kencho has so graciously blessed them with. They too will also be missed.

I plan to continue to be the active, sometimes over involved, person that I am. The students will always have my support and so will my fellow teachers. I will always watch over the students and do my utmost to make the most of my final year and a half.

With that, I look forward to all that has yet to come. For now we will say our good byes, but with good bye there is always a hello. Good bye is not forever.

But with all these changes that means the following shadows still linger: who will be my new supervisor and who will I be assigned to team teach with. These two uncertainties are worrisome when fate holds too many dark possibilities…

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