Tuesday, May 7, 2013

School's Out..... School's Out........ Well, ALMOST

This week is Teacher's Appreciation Week. Ironically, it is also the last week of our school year. As I sit here, I face only two more days with my eighth grade classes. Two more days of, "Please sit down." Two more days of, "WHY don't you have a pencil?" Two more days of teenage drama. Two more days of maintaining my sanity.

Actually, this year has not been as bad as I expected. For the MOST part, my students have really tried. I have pushed them hard and I can honestly say that the majority of them have met my expectations.

It is about this time of the year when students start asking, "Mrs. Baker, will you miss me?" My standard answer is "I don't get time to miss anyone. When I send one group out the door, another one comes in."

Because of this, it is also the time of the year when I start trying to wrap my head around a new school year, with new students, new expectations, and new units of instruction. I have always been one of those "fuddy-duddy" teachers who attends trainings in the summer, plans the first month of lessons, and comes in at least a week early to get my classroom all organized and ready.

You see, teaching was always my first choice of career. My mother kept one of those little books where she would keep my report card and student work samples and I would write things at the end of each school year: height, weight, what I would be when I grew up. When I look back through that book I see the same word written each year, "Teacher."

As I finish yet another year in my chosen career, I do have a few insights to share with anyone who might be contemplating a career in education:

  • There will be bad days, those days when nothing you seem to try works. At the same time, there will be good days, the days when you will walk out the door with a smile a mile wide and a dancing lilt in your step.
  • Try as you might, you will NEVER make EVERYONE happy. There is no way to completely meet the expectations of every single parent, every single student, and every single administrator. Resolve to try, but be willing to accept the fact that there will be days when you think that the whole world is dissatisfied with what you are doing.
  • Teachers really DO have a lasting effect. Teaching middle school students, I have come to accept the fact that the majority of them don't have school at the top of their priority list. Let's face it, many of them don't have it in their top ten. There are a lot of students who think that my only goal in life is to find another assignment that will torture them and require some of their free time.  Give those same adolescents a few years to grow up and they will come back to thank me for what I tried to do for them. Several times a year I will have former students who stop me in the grocery store line to apologize for their behavior as a seventh or eighth grader and to thank me for trying to educate them. It just takes some time for them to realize it.
I have not been the perfect teacher, but I have tried to do what God asked in Titus 2:7.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,

As I close out this school year and prepare for the new one, I ask that God would be with me and continue to help me to be the best teacher that I can be; not only one who instructs in reading and English, but serves as an example of character and a testimony of God's love.

1 comment:

  1. Love this!! My dad was a teacher, so I sorta know where you're coming from. It's a tough job & I have a lot of respect for anyone who can do it (I know I couldn't!).