A writer’s work is never done. Can’t make any promises that this is the last and final reflective ‘closure’ post.
Before I dive into the organizing, exercising, fantasizing, and socializing this summer break, a few notes about the end of the school year. (Yes, I’m going to a new school/position, am hopeful and pragmatically optimistic.)
- Relationships: we teachers are told to build ‘relationships’ in such a ubiquitous manner the practice becomes distorted. What we adults don’t say, but may assume, is that relationships are not linear, but orbital. During the last big awards assembly of the year, one with parents, siblings, relatives, etc., one of my students was asked to give the student speech. I had no idea. If I had known, I know…I KNOW…I would have told him he’d be great, he could practice with me, I’d give him some public speaking tips. He is a great storyteller. I told him he should start a podcast or Youtube channel with his stories. Are they all “school appropriate?” No. But this is his writing and his work. Instead, he disappeared from the building right before the speech. I never got to ask him why, or say it was okay, or give him a side-hug and tell him he’s going to be okay. And when I say this next thing it is not a criticism, but hindsight: I wish the admin would have told me, his ELA/SS teacher, he was giving the speech. She’s the one who chose him. I’m sure she believed she was raising his status, giving him a chance to shine, etc., and all that is true. What is also true is I knew him well, and could have helped support his jitters and reinforced and bolstered him. Lesson learned? Work with admin to support students outside of class hours, and demand admin work with staff. Seems like a no-brainer? Something I won’t take for granted again.
- Clutter: my classroom had too much. It did. I admit it. When I took it all down and moved it, I thought to myself, “Ya know…maybe there’s something to just focusing on color, lighting and books.” Next time.
- Time well spent: keep the fast finisher idea bins stocked and ready. Just — do this. DO THIS.
- Be healthy: no more excuses. Be cool. Be calm. Stress (personal and professional) took a heavy toll on my body this year. I gained too much weight, my arthritis really #$!!! hurts, and I am way too cute to not feel my best. Some issues that plagued me for over a year are somewhat resolved, I am moving on, and now I have a few weeks to reset my biology and spirit.
Oh, and the picture? Notebooks once again that went in recycling. I put together (with their help) lists of things to do over the summer (free/creative), a list of “ready for high school,” and their folders of work. Every year I swear to use notebooks more intentionally, and this next year I’ll get my wish and way.
Now to tackle one mountain of mess in my house at a time.
P.S. Also: note to self. MAKE SURE TO CALL THE PARENT OF THE CHILD YOU’RE GIVING AN AWARD TO.