(This is long and photo-heavy [duh], but please stick with me. Part 2 is a separate post below this one.)
--I took my class ice skating as a reward trip for filling our marble jar. It was by far the best trip of the year! Every kid skated, regardless of their ability. Kids helped each other, encouraged each other, worked together, etc. We all laughed and bonded.
--One of my students was pulled out of the school. He was...a challenge, to say the least. A bully, inappropriate, disruptive, possibly a thief...he bothered everyone else in the class and made it extremely difficult to teach.
It should have been such a relief to have him gone. However, I had so many other challenging students that I had no time to breathe or relax.
I looked ahead, at another five months of teaching in this situation, and felt dread and unhappiness. I told myself I was done and would not return (after finishing the school year--IF I could manage to stay).
--In following with one of my goals, I signed up for a photography class. Here's a shot from the first assignment: take a photo every 11 steps.
--We bought tickets to Costa Rica!
--Sometimes I wished I could just hide out.
--I worked out!
--The best possible thing happened--a snowstorm and A SNOW DAY! IN ADVANCE!!! My then-boyfriend texted me about it after they announced it in the early afternoon, and oh my god, I felt like I had won the lottery. But quietly, so as not to alert the kids just yet.
--Later, we had a week off from school! I was a good little teacher and cleaned and organized my desk before going on vacation.
I'm pretty sure I sat around and did nothing much over the break. Ahh, heaven.
--I went to DC to hang out with a bunch of photographer friends. We did another scavenger hunt, which at one point had our group split into two and dash into neighboring museums a few minutes before closing. It was like being in the Amazing Race! One of the items on our list was the Hope Diamond:
--At school we did some fun science experiments. I wished I had more time for science! So did the kids! (This is obviously not the only science I did all year. Many lessons I just didn't photograph.)
--Spring finally arrived! Hallelujah!
Spring break started right at the end of March and into the first week of April. We were in Costa Rica!
We ate delicious fresh fruits,
saw incredible sights,
frolicked on the beach,
went zip-lining in the cloud forest,
and of course...got engaged!
--I also started a new photography class.
--State exams happened. I had a bit of a breakdown, thanks to one of my students. One of my thoughtful students made this for me to make me feel better.
--We started putting together plans for the wedding, meeting with a photographer and officiant, and looking into some restaurant/reception venues. We finally explored the Highline after one such visit.
--Yet another one of my students and his parent continued to cause me frustration and anger.
--Finally I got to witness Manhattanhenge:
--I bought a bike!
--The last month of school!
--We celebrated my then-fiance's birthday at our favorite pizza place:
--I went home for a weekend to watch younger siblings graduate from high school and college.
I also drank in the green goodness!
--I found some sparkly, pretty wedding shoes:
--We sent out the invitations:
--I took my class on a bunch of field trips: to the zoo, to the Hall of Science, to the Met, and we also had a field day.
--I was told that I was not being offered a contract to return. This news was hard to take and accept, but then I remembered that I'd already decided to leave the school and finally leave teaching for good, way back in January.
--I put together a class yearbook. Each student wrote a little blurb about themselves, and I took individual photos. I got prints of pretty much everything I'd done all year, and the kids helped cut out and organize it all by event/project. A student drew a cover and I put in a table of contents. I was pretty proud of it! I made a copy for each student and even tried to get them to sign each other's. They took it a little too literally and just wrote their names in the other books. Heh. I hope that they keep it and enjoy looking through it in the future.
--We got out of school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!