I'm off to a meeting next week, so today was my last day of class for Computer Science 124 (Algorithms and Data Structures) for the semester. For two reasons, today feels important.
First, because I'll be on sabbatical next year, I won't have to teach another lecture for what seems to be something like 18 months. I haven't had that much time off from teaching since I've started. I'm looking forward to it, especially as this year the administrative job has slowed research. I'm hopeful the sabbatical time can be put to use productively on the research side.
Second, more nostalgically, I've taught this class for the last 15 years. To me that feels like a record of some sort. When I come back from sabbatical, the plan is that someone else will be teaching the course, and I'll have to find something new and entertaining (for me, and maybe for the students) to teach. I admit, my preference would be to teach this class pretty much forever. After 15 years, I finally think I'm starting to understand all the material and how it fits together. I'll miss the class. While my head knows that it is probably good for both me and the class to separate, my heart hurts a little, giving it up and moving on.
Given the excitement of once again being done with teaching for the academic year, I'm sure I'll get by. (As I explain to the students, the only ones happier than they are that classes are ending are the faculty...) Things change -- obviously, for me, sometimes very slowly -- and I'm optimistic that whatever I decide to teach next, I can make it a course I'll enjoy teaching for say the next 15 years.