The Things That Make it Worthwhile

For a week that could have been a low point in my teaching career due to the stress of a new schedule, an expanded teaching load, new class sections (same students, new arrangements), teaching in a new room, not to mention getting grades done and having parent-teacher conferences — my students came through time and time again this week. Some thoughts:

– Monday, ten of my students stayed after school with me to help me move all teacherly belongings down the hall to my new room. They took all the graded work I had from the end of the previous Trimester and filed them according to our new section groupings. Because of them, we didn’t miss a beat in the classroom. I honestly have no idea how I would have gotten through the week without them.

– Sections take on a life of their own, often with some less than desirable habits. With the new sections groups, I saw students from sections that had better habits ensuring that the students from sections not always as pleasant or productive did not continue to have a negative impact on the class. Many of my students stood up and took control of their classmates, laying the groundwork for a successful new beginning.

– Though I dread parent-teacher conferences every year, I left them this year refreshed. They filled me with hope. Either I spent 5-10 minutes praising wonderful students, or I had genuine problem-solving conversations with parents and/or students who genuinely wanted to see improvement in their children or selves. So much of my time and energy feels like it is spent on managing problems, that it was wonderfully invigorating to be able to take some time and focus on the positive. Most of my students due much that deserves praise, and it was wonderful to be able to focus on that for awhile.

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