Most northern hemisphere classrooms are over for the year by now. Today was the last day with my third graders for me in Seattle. It was out of control chaotic - in the best sense, a great way to end the year.
I did my usual last day of school rendition of Mark Twain's The Glorious Whitewasher - a 10 minute one man skit where I play Aunt Polly, Tom Sawyer, and Ben. The tie came off, my shirt got untucked, and my sleeves got partly rolled up. It went pretty well, one of my better performances, I'd say. It's nice to give the kids a piece of me that they never get to see, on the last day.
I can't tell you how many times people came up to me today and mentioned my supposed relief and exultation.
Far, far from exultation were the feelings I went through today. I'll miss my kids. I wish I had done a better job with them in so many areas.
Teacher angst. It's the part of the job that drives better instruction "next year" way more than any other summer course or inservice.
(Image from http://www.studiobtheater.info/audition_info.php)
Teacher angst, the sign of a great teacher who's always striving to do better. I'm sure your students learned well and will remember their year with you fondly.
Our greatest reward is that we made a difference in their lives. Enjoy your summer of learning and reflection.
I'm a "newer" teacher. I've just completed my sixth year in the computer lab and fourth year teaching middle school math. I'm always sorry to see the math students move on. I love having daily classes with the same group. Computer class is once or twice a week - it's just not the same.
The angst does drive a person to tinker with what works and what could be better. I can only imagine how much more they become "yours" when you are with them the better part of the day, every day. I'm glad I get a glimpse of it through your blog.
I thought I was alone in feeling the angst. Each year when I complete my students' report cards it begins. "I could have done more with this, or I should have done that, or I really did not help this student enough." A few times I have brought this up with colleagues or other teachers and they always say the same thing... "Look at how much you did." It does not really help. For some reason it is so much easier to find the things that were missed or could have been better.
Enjoy your summer and know that you are not alone in preparing to make 'next year' better.
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