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Archive for the ‘Summer preparation’ Category

This past year was an amazing time with my Honors English class. When we parted company, I was intending to have them the following year for Honors 9th grade. We had a number of plans for activities, books, and writing to share the following year, and so parted company for the summer without a real goodbye, fully expecting to be together the next year.

When I went in for our teacher day, I was informed by the administration that I had been chosen to receive the history position I have waited nine years to get back. What an amazing honor–to be able to have the job I love and the opportunity to help tie in the English standards into the history department, as well as plan project based instruction. I was thrilled–and yet, my Honors kids. I don’t know what it is about that particular group of kids, but not only did I connect with them, they connected with each other. They felt at home with each other and me, and I was anticipating the opportunity to continue to develop them. The last thing I wanted was for them to arrive at school the next year expecting to have me and be completely devastated.

So, I composed a letter informing them of the change, affirming my support of them (and my gratefulness at the opportunity to shape their education), and a challenge to continue to succeed and make me proud. Thanks to modern technology, I could find most of them on facebook, message them (without being friends) and ask students to forward the message to those who either didn’t have facebook or who had messaging from non-friends blocked. While they were understandably disappointed, it has been neat to see their continued encouragement, in addition to the support of others for my new position. Transitions are a natural part of life, and each one brings with it challenges and opportunities. While closing a chapter in any book is hard, I am excited for this next season with all it holds.

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J.J. Heller, one of my favorite artists, has a song that states, “It’s the little things that make a difference. It’s the little things that show love.” Today, as I was scraping gum off the bottom of desks, I thought about the truth embodied in that song.

There are so many things teachers do that are never noticed or even considered by those who think we’re “so lucky because you have the whole summer off.” In the midst of moving desks, scraping gum, running copies, planning lessons, touching up paint, putting up bulletin boards, and the thousand other things teachers do in their “summers off,” we sometimes don’t feel very lucky.

Which is why it’s a good thing to be reminded why we do what we do. In addition to scraping gum, I got to take a walk around the building while students were re-registering. In that time, I got hug mobbed by the cheerleading squad, had an “appointment” scheduled with a cheerleader wanted to talk to me after practice about some “boy issues,” helped a student assemble a desk chair for his mom’s office, caught up with another student about her break-up and new boyfriend, helped a seventh grader open a locker, spoke to 3 parents, and otherwise just enjoyed seeing familiar faces.

One cheerleader who will be a junior this year told me that she had recently been cleaning her room and found her journal from my class (eighth grade.) (I always tell my students at the end of the year to hide their journals somewhere where they’ll forget about them for a few years, and then they’ll find them and laugh.) She said she had re-read it, laughed, and cried over all the memories. She was so glad to have it. She said, “I think I’ll hide it again, so I don’t find it for another few years.” I love it!

The girl who had “made an appointment to talk with me” spent an hour with me hashing through her struggles and a difficult discussion she was preparing to have with one of her best friends. She explained her difficulties and listened as I shared the possible scenarios she needed to consider. It was a great discussion.

I think those two experiences truly made me look forward to the start of school. Because when it comes down to it, I scrape gum off desks and give up my “free time” and the thousand other things I do because it DOES make a difference. It shows love.

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