As I was in my classroom tying up loose ends and overlooking the adorable thank-you flowers a student brought me Friday morning, I decided to share a few of the recurring thoughts that have jumped around in my mind this week. I'll try to do so without writing a novel...after all, I have the whole summer for that! :)
1. I had such a challenging class, but it made me stronger as a teacher, and it forced me to constantly reassess and rethink what I was doing. I think the estimate I heard once is that a teacher makes 5,000 decisions a day, and I would completely believe that. They're not always decisions I wanted to make, but I made them with the best interest of 21 others at heart, and that's tricky when those 21 hearts require different things!
2. I got a note from a parent saying that while my year may not have been what I had envisioned, they were thankful that I handled it as I did, and did so while continuing to be a positive role model for their daughter. I cried...for a couple reasons. First, she was so right - I didn't envision some of the challenges I faced. However, I learned from each challenge, and while some would disagree, I think my primary role as a teacher is role model. If they learn to add, write, multiply, and identify the moon phases through that model, it's even better.
3. Challenges aside, we had a great year. I love this bunch of kiddos - yes, even you, Chatty McGee. That first class is one I hear you'll never forget, and despite encounters that would make me reach for a glass of wine on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning still found me excited to come to work, and there was not a single day this year where I regretted my career choice.
4. Kids are hilarious. They're funnier than any co-worker you'll ever have in an office. No offense.
I can't wait for next year! I mean, I'm excited for summer, but I've come out of the first year even more excited to try my hand at this again. Several times this year, I thought of a professor I had who said "Teaching is a constant opportunity to practice flexibility." That should just be its own college course, because nothing is more accurate.