My first year of teaching is winding its way to an end, and as I look back, I'm proud of a lot of it.
I'm proud that my students have made academic growth. I'm proud that one has significantly decreased his "blurt to hand raise" ratio. I'm proud of the relationships that we've built, the lessons we've learned together, and, after this crazy week, pretty proud that I survived the year.
I'm not proud of everything, though, not by a long shot, and about a week and a half ago I got a reminder that no matter how well things are going, we all do things we aren't proud of.
Let me set the scene for you: Fifth grade. End of the school year. My math class, which has never been known for its excellent behavior. A first year teacher who has never been known for her discipline. And not to make excuses, but I was feeling super crappy that day.
These kids would. not. stop. talking. I tried complimenting the well-behaved kids, tried raising my voice, tried "I can't do this for you and you need to take responsibility for your own learning" guilt. Every time I tried to teach, they were back to talking. And I yelled. I didn't just raise my voice. I yelled the way you yell when you are angry at someone. After that, I left the room and I cried.
Somewhere in the minute or so that I was out of the room, I remembered that they're 10 and I'm 23. And I went back in and taught math. They made me a card from construction paper that said "Sorry we were so loud" on the outside and "You are the best" on the inside. They all signed it.
So, now I have this yellow card in my bag, and I'm going to go ahead and hold onto it to remind me that I made it through this year- the proud moments and the not-so-proud ones all together.