Monday, June 3, 2013

School's Out and I Survived

May 23rd was the last day of school for students here, and teachers were finished on the 28th. At this point, I've been up north with my family for a few days and still can't believe that my first year is over. It's an incredibly weird feeling.

The last couple of weeks of school were a strange whirlwind. Fifth graders at the end of the school year are basically wild animals, and we had a LOT going on in those last few weeks- visiting the middle school, practicing locks, end of the year party, etc. I found myself in the strange position of REALLY wanting the end to come so that these crazy kids and I could have a break, yet being very sad that the little buggers would be moving on to the middle school, where I realistically probably won't see them again.

When the last day of school came, I did cry a couple of times. The first was because of a card one of my little darlings gave me. Now, this kid is my buddy. The birthday card he made me was featured in a previous post. He is by no means a writer, but he filled both sides of a card thanking me for helping him when he was confused, taking him outside to eat lunch, "bealing" (b-d reversal) with him when he got wound up, etc. The last line was "You are the best teacher I have had and will have. Thank you." You have to understand- I'm not trying to brag, or saying that I think I was truly the best teacher this kid has had- I am saying it because it totally humbled me. I worked really hard this year to keep up. I cried in the bathroom plenty of times and spent long hours writing lesson plans and progress reports. I was observed CONSTANTLY by both the school administration and people from the county. I struggled to keep up with co-teaching, small groups, preparing kids for standardized tests, data collection, Common Core, rigor, classroom management, etc etc etc. I dropped the ball plenty of times.

None of those things are what really mattered to this student. What mattered to him was that I helped him when he was lost, listened when he needed to talk, and read to him when he was bouncing off the walls. I reassured him that it's impossible to be literally scared to death and put band-aids on a lot of cuts. I loved this kid (and his 30 lovely classmates, too). That is what made the difference in his life this year. I know that I need all of those other things- the standards, the management, the lesson, the data- to be an effective teacher, and I am working on them. I was humbled to remember, though, that I entered this field not just to educate, but also to nurture and encourage. And that is one thing that I don't need any extra training or practice to do well.

1 comment:

  1. This made me cry. I'm so proud of you, lady. You are so natural at what you do, and now that the first year thing is behind you, I'm sure the second year will be quadruple-y better! I can't wait to hear more stories. Miss you bunches. <3