XXXI: First Batch


Teaching is hard.

I have made so many mistakes.
I have created so many stressful situations.
I have said so many incorrect things.

Teaching is hard.

I was fortunate enough to go on a field trip with some of our students today. This landed me in an amusement park from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM on possibly one of the most gorgeous days of the year. However, as it turns out, we were not the only school inside the park on this day.

After releasing our students I sat at a table for 45 minutes; that was my job for the morning in the event something happened to one of our darlings. Nearing the end of my shift a man sat down at the next table. His shirt was blue and read the follow…

East Buchanan Bulldogs

I knew this man! He was the assistant basketball coach while I was in high school. I sat down next to him, incredibly he remembered my name after ten years, and we started talking. I learned that two individuals I graduated with from high school now teach 7th grade students in the middle school we grew up in. I found them all in the park today. The man I compared notes; I suppose like teachers do. We talked about expansion, testing, demographics, and just how times have changed.

Man, times have changed.

After speaking with him for a few minutes I wandered the park. I road five roller coasters, overcame my previous fear of going upside down, ate three cheeseburgers, and thanks to the air from the coasters, my beard is extremely ‘poofy’ this evening.

School ends next Friday.

Heading home this evening I watched my students. They were my students this year. I had to be responsible for instructing them about the social sciences for nine months. I attended countless meetings, several observations, training sessions, and many sleepless nights. I learned new languages, discovered different cultures, and researched just about everything I could think up about these strange 12-13 year old children.

Today is started to settle in that after next week…they’re gone. Now I do sound like a true teacher. Even though I gained wrinkles, lost weight and sleep, and they frustrated me to no end on several weeks; my kids are leaving*.

This is the part of teaching they try to warn you about, but you refuse to listen. You will be heartbroken when you realize that your students are growing up and they are no longer yours. From the selfish perspective that is a really hard pill to swallow.

Besides, they’re just going to 8th grade. They will all just be a hall below me next year. It is an easy thing to think until after the trip today I found an 8th grader standing by themselves, alone, waiting for their ride to pick them up. They were one of my cross country runners and they were one of the first students I met, when they were in 6th grade and I was a new substitute in the building. We spoke about their attitude, their brain, and the fact that they have such a bright future. What I didn’t realize, in such pathetic nature, was that my voice started cracking when I started talking about their future.

I already know that I struggle talking and interacting with my peers. It is so, so much easier to communicate with students. However, those students are leaving. and even though I get a new batch next year, that realization is so saddening.

Today was a hard day for me. I thought I was ready for the summer, I thought my mental countdown placed me in with all the teachers in the state, but at second glance…I want to be selfish. I want to hold onto my kids. I want to watch them grow and I want to be there to guide them. Is that the wrong thing to think in the month of May?

Tomorrow, in my classroom, will be the last ‘in class’ day as next week consists of field day, field trips, career day, assembly events, etc…This means that at 3:00 PM my normal class schedule is done for my first year of teaching.

In the normal, adult working world my brain couldn’t handle the day-to-day activities.
In the strange, student-centric world of education my heart is really struggling to the handle the realization of the end.

Is that fair for a first year teacher to say?

Teaching is hard.

I have learned so many new faces.
I have created so many relationships.
I haven’t said enough to show that I love my kids.

Teaching is hard.

-D-

*I’m going to be an emotional mess when I’m a parent.

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