Yesterday, I finished up my 13th year in the classroom. (cue teacher meme)
Since I teach middle schoolers, I’m not one to get emotional (and neither are they). In fact, I was ushering students out the door on the last day (why won’t they leave?!)
Since my room is all packed up (see evidence below) and the kids are gone, I finally have some quiet time to reflect on the year.
- My students learned to love reading. Since one of my goals was to re-structure my library and the way I implemented choice reading, I was thrilled to see so many of my students become avid readers. Next year, I hope to obtain more books and incorporate times for students to “shop” for books of their choice.
- Author visit! I was so lucky to get Kwame Alexander to visit our school, just as my students were reading The Crossover. This is an experience I hope many of my students will remember for a long time.
- Poetry Slam. I held our school’s first annual poetry slam. This is a tradition I hope to continue in the future, as poetry and spoken word are creative outlets for many of my students.
- Spelling Bee. In conjunction with the city, I enrolled our school in the area spelling bee where one of my students was a finalist! Students loved this event so I plan to continue it next year.
- Data, data, data. I’m not a huge fan of data, but it made me feel great to see that my students came to me around 40% proficient in reading and grew to 70% proficient by mid-year. I am very fortunate to have had colleagues who assisted me in growing our students’ reading and comprehension skills.
- Student Teacher. I had a student teacher for the first time this year. I learned many things about being a mentor and she taught me a few things as well.
Teaching is so much more than instructing students each day. We do so much behind-the-scenes planning and work that it can often be a thankless, frustrating job. However, as I continue to grow as an educator, I am learning to take more time to reflect and relax. I’m confident that what I do works and while I still have the desire to grow in my profession, I can do that without feeling like I need to “do it all.” (Being a ball of stress is no fun anyway!)