The end of my first year of teaching is rapidly approaching, very very rapidly. For me, it feels like I just met my kids yesterday. I’m an emotional wreck. I’m tearing up when they bring me yearbooks to sign, I’m clinging to the papers they wrote months ago, and I’m desperate to hold on to the memories we have built in my little classroom. Oddly, I’m also more ready for a break than I thought I would be, and the kids seem to be clawing at the windows to escape the awful wrath that Ms. K brings upon them. As sad as it is that my students are going to be eighth graders next year, it is just as exciting that I have learned so much to implement in my classroom (and in myself) before the start of next year.
5. Patience really is a virtue.
My dad always told me that patience was a virtue and he was absolutely right! If I have learned anything this school year, it is that the patience I have is a gift I can treasure. There were times that I just knew God had pushed me to my limits with these seventh graders, but I made it through with integrity and I am a much better person for it.
4. Silly is worth it
It was incredibly silly of my lovely F-building teammates and I to dress up as characters from the Rugrats, wear diapers, and do many other embarrassing things, but I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything. Our school celebrates academic achievement with a bang every year, and my homeroom had a blast dressing up as the Rugrats for the school-wide costume competition. We also had a blast in the fun-filled, field-day style charades that went on the entire school day.
I also learned to wear sun-screen and bring a fold-out chair to Star-day next year. I ended up with the worst sunburn EVER on my face. My face literally peeled for a week after star day, and it was still worth it.
3. Ron Clark was right
Before school started, I got the best birthday present a teacher could ask for. All 1300+ employees in our school district got a talking to from the one and only Ron Clark. Ron Clark is probably one of the most famous teachers ever, after winning Disney’s teacher of the year award, Oprah’s first ever Phenomenal Man award, and having a movie of his teaching career made, Ron Clark is now most famous for the Ron Clark Academy. Of course, he had a lot of things to say, but the one that resonated with me was not to let the negative attitudes affect you. As a new teacher, I was entirely unsuccessful at this challenge. I was surrounded by negativity, and I certainly participated in the complain fest. I learned from that, though and next year one of my goals is to surround myself with and radiate positivity.
2. Principals aren’t scary.
At the beginning of this school year, I was terrified of the administrative staff who had hired me. The transition from student to teacher really is a long and awkward process. I couldn’t get rid of the terror that 12 years of public school had instilled in me about my leaders for at least the first nine-weeks. Finally, I have realized that I work for an amazing group of administrators who provide me with a wealth of support. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better team of folks to work for.
1. I’m right where I need to be.
I love teaching 7th grade English, and God put me in this position because this was his vision for my life. I could not be any happier with my job than I am right now. Teaching is the most rewarding, challenging, and fun experience I have ever lived through. I cannot wait to get ready for next year, and my summer schedule is already jam-packed with professional development, art projects, and small teaching endeavors!