A Year in Review
When I think about my second year of teaching compared to my first year, I think the main difference is that I was a lot more organized. As a teacher you have to deal with an immense amount of information coming in, and you are responsible for getting it out on time. It takes a lot of practice and trial-and-error to get that right. But the great thing is, when you're not scrambling around trying to find things, you can spend more time developing your teaching skills and enjoying the students.
Teaching is such a crazy, beautiful thing. It is so easy to get bogged down with the politics and bureaucracy of the profession. This year I reached a point where I let that happen, and to be honest I wasn't entirely sure that I could continue with my chosen career. It is very difficult when you put not only long hours, but your heart and soul into something and you feel like the Way High-Ups who have never met you send messages that tell you that they don't value what you put in. But what I learned is that you because you pour yourself into your kids, you have to draw your strength from them, too. I am learning how to tune out all that negativity and zone in on what really matters...the reason why I got into teaching in the first place.
Today I invited the parents in to view a slide show I had put together with pictures from the school year. I made it through the slide show without crying, but I wasn't so lucky when it came to passing out the class awards. There are a few students I am especially proud of for having come so far and overcoming obstacles that can bring full-grown adults to their knees.
But there is one kid that I just wasn't sure about, until today. I get a lot of hugs as a first grade teacher, but there are some kids who just aren't touchy-feely like that, and this kid is one of them. He will flinch if I touch his shoulder. He's just not the most expressive kid in the world, and as much as I tried, I never felt like I did my best with him.
He knows how to get on my nerves...one of those that makes me subconsciously clench my teeth.
Very strong willed.
You get the idea.
Well, today I finished giving the awards, and I was schmoozing with the parents, waiting for the bell to ring, when I felt a pair of arms around my waist.
And it was him.
And I realized that I had spent so much time trying to figure out this kid....trying to find something to motivate him to grow...that I really had done my best.