Where did the time go? Here we are, it is June 16 and there is 3 days left of classes. I last posted in February. So much for that.
I am sitting in my classroom feeling a bit emotional (let’s be honest, I’m crying a little), thinking about this past semester. I did a lot of crying this semester, or at least at the beginning. I am not shedding overwhelmed tears anymore, but I am feeling a little sad to leave this place that has been my second (or first) home for the last year.
In February, when I first started teaching full time, I really thought I had made a mistake. Being responsible for the learning of over a hundred students is a HUGE task. It doesn’t matter if you go to school to be a teacher for twenty years, nothing really prepares you for your first classroom. I spent a lot of time wishing I had paid better attention in my classes and then questioning whether that would have made a difference anyway. How was I going to teach this many students that many things? And some of those things, I didn’t know a lot about either. I would go to bed with tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach. I spent lunch hours trying to mark but really thinking about what other job I could do instead. Rodeo clown… Crocodile Hunter… Lumberjack…
But, somewhere along the way, something happened. I’m not sure what it was or when it happened. Maybe sometime in March or April. It got easier. They (everyone) kept saying it would happen. In the midst of things, I really didn’t believe them – they seemed so far removed from where I was. I began to feel more confident, I built really good relationships with the kids and with my staff, and eventually I wasn’t staying past dark every night. It may have also helped that the days were getting longer. It also may have helped that I enlisted my brothers to cut, glue, staple, fold and sort whenever there was an opportunity.
And now, here I am again getting teary, only now it’s because I can’t believe how quickly this semester has gone and how much I will miss the kids I’ve taught. This was my first kick at the can, and I know there are lots of things I will do differently. I haven’t been a perfect teacher by any means, but I have learned so much. And it’s been incredible to watch the kids learn too. It’s so exciting to see them get excited about something – whether it’s something we’re talking about in class or a project that has a special meaning to them.
It’s been a semester of the biggest challenges I have ever faced, but also the biggest rewards. Here’s some highlights:
Meredith Shareski, another teacher and I, directed our school’s One Acts and after hourssss of work, our kids ended up winning second in our regional festival. Pretty exciting moment!
Another big highlight has been working with my Media Studies class. This was definitely my toughest class, classroom management-wise. However, this class is also where I’ve seen how powerful relationships are when it comes to managing your classroom. I remember the teacher next door to me saying, “they’ll be the class that will teach you how to teach.” And, she was right.
As a part of our Teens & the Media unit we did, we looked at how teens were often negatively portrayed in the media. I asked the kids to find both a positive and negative news article featuring teens to discuss in class. They were soon frustrated trying to find a positive article about teens, complaining that they couldn’t find any positive news about teens. So, we decided we should do something positive in our community and partner with the local newspaper to bring about some positive press about teens. We decided to walk over an elementary school that was close and do some work with the grade 1/2 class. My grade elevens (who lacked a lot of motivation usually) were so excited to do this. This was such an incredible day. I was so impressed with their willingness to step up to the plate and to give back. The Times Herald wrote an article about the morning that you can read here on page 12-13.
I could go on, but this post is already lengthy (that’s what happens when you don’t write for months). It has been an amazing semester. It has been a hard semester. I am so thankful for all of the people that supported me and had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this on my own.
It has been a season of growth and of change. I don’t know totally what the future holds or what direction I might head in next, but I do know that I will always remember at Peacock Collegiate with really fond memories and I hope to find myself back here one day. It has made me a better teacher and a stronger person, and the payoff was worth the initial struggle. I am looking forward to whatever the next chapter might be. But, **spoiler alert** it probably won’t involve crocodile hunting.