Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's Over.

I've been home for over an hour already. School is over. Done.

I awoke with a migraine with an especially queasy stomach. It hasn't yet gone away, even though I took some medicine at 7 this morning. I suppose the stomach is perhaps a nerve thing.

I've taught for two whole years. I'm about to complete the Fellows program. I'll be applying for real certification in the fall.

Last year's end was more of a triumph, because I had survived the year, and I had overcome such obstacles.

This year's end has really affected me, most probably because it has so snuck up on me. I feel quite emotional. A bit bereft and confused, to be honest.

I hugged a lot of my students this morning. Lots of them were signing uniform shirts, and they asked me to sign shirts or take pictures with them. I got a few homemade cards and gifts. This year my kids have been really great. Several of them have said they'll miss me, and I believe them. I'm going to miss them! I think I already do!

Earlier I got an instant message from a student who said she misses me already. How adorable is that?

I saw two of my girls in tears this morning as they were filing out, and that got me teared up. I know that I was in no danger of that a year ago.

Tears sprung up as I drove away from my school this morning, and I felt quiet and empty. Unsure of myself and what has happened this year. I just don't know what to do with myself. I'm rather teary again right now, contemplating it.

I cannot express how in denial I feel--how in the world did it get to be the end of June already? To say this year was a whirlwind would be...well, a huge understatement. How did it happen? How did it go so fast? When did I get so attached to my kids? When did I get so confident in myself? When, for pete's sake, did I almost start feeling like a grown up and a real teacher?

Last year, dealing with so many troublemaker students, I had a lot of failures. But I also had a few successes--I got through to a couple of them, and they turned themselves around. Those students saw that I believed in their ability and that I wasn't going to take any lazy crap from them. They got that without me ever saying that, or doing anything. In the fall of last year, no less, when I was frazzled and desperate about everything. Something about my attitude got through to them, eventually, and they came over to 'my side.' I felt really good about those successes, like my first year actually meant something to someone else.

This year, I didn't have that many kids with those problems or issues. I definitely had lazy kids, but they weren't really behavior problems. Smart but lazy. I don't think I really reached any of them. A couple seemed to get better, on their own. I tried to make encouraging comments when I could, but they were more off the cuff and random. No special conferences or phone calls or anything. I suppose they picked up on my attitude of expecting excellence and pushed themselves a bit more. I don't know.

There's this one girl who sometimes has this attitude, and gets lazy. She was the one I started keeping an eye on, and occasionally I'd take her aside to keep her going. She was never the top student in the class, or turned in all her homework, but sometime earlier this year I noticed her putting more effort in. She was a wonderful participant, raising her hand and really trying to do her best. Diligently taking notes and doing group work and making her she was doing her job. I made sure to compliment and encourage her, and this week I gave her a Most Improved Award, and gave her a bit of a talk. She knows that I am proud of her and that I think well of her.

I certainly had some enjoyable relationships with a bunch of kids. Those girls from Class 3 came to my room almost every lunch, the ones who threw me the surprise graduation party, were so sweet. They always wanted to help me, and talk to me, and hang out around me. It's weird; I definitely enjoyed them, but I don't know if I affected them, you know? Maybe they just wanted a place to go other than the lunchroom? Did I make a difference for them? They were all decent to good students on their own. I didn't turn any of them around. Though one of them did have trouble getting work in or just showing up every day on time. She's gotten better at doing her work, and she's very smart and a great writer. I hope she got at least a little more confident in herself, and began to develop a better self image and work ethic that will help her really succeed next year.

As I've been writing this, two more girls have been IMing me. So cute! Such great kids. What in the world will I do without them?

This summer already feels surreal. It's stretching out before me, and it's intimidating. I've said before that I'm not sure what to do, and that I'll have to find things to do and reasons to get up and dressed every day. Last summer breezed by without me knowing much about it. I suppose that I was in class for most of July, and traveling for at least half of August. I definitely didn't do all the things I'd wanted to; I didn't take advantage of all my time. I got very lazy.

This summer should be better, since I've got the boy to do things with. I'll have more reasons to go into the city and do all those free things everyone's always raving about. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

It's over. I still can't believe it. I wonder when the shock will wear off?


Anonymous said...

I am so incredibly proud of you, darling girl. :) You HAVE made a real difference in those student's lives, whether it feels like it right now or not. You have come so far in such a short time; you have much to be proud of! Know that I am proud of your accomplishments and my heart is with you. Can't wait to see you again! Lots of love and all things gushy! Big, big hugs to you.

you know who ;)

andy said...

It's been a year since I was in a classroom and I still worry about whether I "made a difference" for some of my kids. Sigh. But you're probably a much better teacher than I was, so don't worry. By the way, some of us REAL grownups don't get summer vacations. Not even ten (tin? ten?) days.

Schoolgal said...

If the writer of this blog is not a REAL grownup, then Andy has NOT been reading this blog or others like it. It is his job to attack unions while sitting in an air conditoned room or office while teachers sweat each day in their classrooms. I really don't believe he ever taught because he would know that our jobs don't end at 3pm. He would understand the emotional issues we face each day that those in the REAL world cannot even imagine. Furthermore, he would know teachers use this time to take courses and workshops to enhance their methodologies.

aphrikandreema said...

Congratulations! I've heard that the second year of teaching is always better and reading your blog makes me believe that and continue trudging on to success!

Anonymous said...

Schoolgal, you are completely out of line and owe "Andy" an apology. If you had read his post rather than just attacked him, he stated that he had been a teacher and I seriously doubt you know anything about him or what his job is currently. He was being supportive of this blogger. Before you go off on ME, don't. I know this blogger extremely well.

You may want to re-read the original post and the responses. I have no idea what got you so upset but perhaps a little work on your reading "comprehension" skills are in order.

Again, congratulations to this beautiful blogger! Let's include the rest of the hardworking teachers out there for a job well done.

Have a lovely day now, schoolgal.

Schoolgal said...

Dear Anon,

I agree that this blogger is one of our best. Prehaps the term Real grownup has a different connotation or is an inside joke to this blogger.
Prehaps this is not the same "Andy" who posts anti-teacher union comments on other blogs. If this is the case, I will gladly give Andy my apology and wish you both a great summer.

Congrats to MM on her TeaCup Award!

Jules the Crazy said...

hi friends,

schoolgal, i think there was a misinterpretation. andy was being a bit sarcastic, as is his habit. and i know that because he's my special someone (and definitely not the anti-union andy). :) he was indeed a teacher last year and believe me, is therefore very supportive of all teachers. and here's an excerpt from an email he wrote me: I hope you know that I admire the hell out of what you've accomplished as a teacher. Your commitment to sticking out the two years and coming back for a third is impressive enough by itself, but you clearly do a lot more than just survive each day. I'm not joking when I say that you're a better teacher than I was last year or would have been this year.

so let's all say phew! now that it's summertime and we can relax in our air-conditioned apartments. :)

Jules the Crazy said...

and what's this about a TeaCup Award??

Schoolgal said...





Schoolgal said...

Ooops! Sorry it wasn't your Teacup, but it should have been.
I got you mixed up with the other MM (Miss Malarky).

My friend treated me to 3-olive dirty martinis today (vodka, not gin). So I am mixing up Andy's and MMs today. Next time I'm trying the gin.

I hope you continue posting on the Carnival so those newspaper people can get a gander at this site. For a new teacher finishing her studies and moving to a new place, you accomplished so much, and I got some great lesson ideas from you.
I even learned about a 4-square ;)