I started a new teaching job. This year I’m teaching English, Spanish, and Theatre Arts at a small school. I’m mostly teaching 5th-8th grade, though I do have a specials rotation with 3rd abs 4th grade.
Every year I start my classes out basically the same way: students fill out info and goals sheets as bell work while I do first day attendance and housekeeping. Next, I do a basic introduction presentation and go over my syllabus. If there is time, we do the name game, and class promptly ends. Seven years. ~1000 kids.
This time, I did something different. Year 8 began with stations. I said hello, we made name tents, and off they went to 5 different stations. (1) student info and goal setting, #goals, (2) syllabus puzzle (using block posters) and syllabus quiz, (3) book tasting from my classroom library, (4) a reading survey, and (5) write a letter to yourself.
Doing something different has already changed everything about my class. I was able to teach my expectations by showing my students instead of telling them. They were able to experience my procedures for grouping and moving around the room. And, I got to see how and with whom they interact. It was a success.
Oh man. I thought I was ready to go back tomorrow.
Wait. Let me qualify that: I am NOT ready for summer to be over. What I mean is… I thought I was ready to start at a new school. I thought I was ready to be an English teacher. I thought I was ready to not be teaching Spanish. I really thought the post I wrote a few days ago had settled all that…
I still believe, and know, all the things I wrote. I am a teacher, no matter what. But, OH! how my heart hurts not to be going back to the kids who had become mine, and not teaching the thing I know best.
To some extent, this happens every year. I mourn the loss of students I know I won’t have again, either because they won’t be in my classes, or because they graduate. I celebrate their successes and I wonder how I can ever do better for my next group of students. I wonder if I’m good enough for the kids coming in. I wonder if we’ll be as awesome together as the last classes were. And every year, we surpass my wildest dreams. Every year, together, we do something that I would have never dreamed possible.
I know this feeling I have of loss is really part of the “one big Sunday” that August is for teachers. I know the truth, in my head, at least: we’ll do it again. They will be awesome, and I’ll grow with them. Together we’ll do something great.