Friday, June 5, 2009

The end is near!

The end of the school year is near: one week from today! Oh yeah.

A year ago I applied for a transfer to an open position at an elementary school within the school district I work for. I immigrated to a “new world.”

As with any immigration, sociologists will tell you that there are “push” factors and “pull” factors. There are things that push you to leave one place and pull you to a new place. Change is difficult.

Change involves risk. Risk can lead to loss. But risk is often a prerequisite to reward. I feel rewarded.

The rewards of my immigration are mostly about the students who I’ve had the privilege of hosting this year in my classroom: a learning zone.

My students learn about math, English language arts (ELA), how to be better students, and how to take responsibility for their own futures.

Later in the summer I’ll be looking at math and ELA test scores to see how my students progressed. I’ll reflect on my instruction. I’ll consider how to improve my program.

The more difficult assessments involve measuring the changes in my students in the areas of becoming better students and becoming more responsible for their own future. These measures are more anecdotal, subjective, and more important.

The sense of personal reward I feel are not just the gains I can see in math and ELA, but in the young people who have repeatedly crossed the threshold into my classroom and entered my circle of influence.

I can recall students’ faces, names, personalities, changes, improvements, breakthroughs, and milestones. I aim to make a positive difference in students’ lives that they will recall 30 years from now. I aim for the stars, and I aim to inspire.

It’s not always easy. It’s not without frustrations, irritations, and annoyances. It is work.

But this “new world” has afforded me the opportunity and privilege to make a difference. It’s not that I didn’t have the opportunity or effect in my previous school. Wherever I go, there I am.

I am just so glad and so grateful that I’ve gotten to continue my journey for another school year in a great place, working with great people, and working for the young people who I’ve come to know, love, and respect.

I’m also glad that my first year at my new school is almost over, so I can rest, rejuvenate, relax, and return for a new beginning: next year!

But for now I’m happy because… the end is near!


  1. "It’s not always easy. It’s not without frustrations, irritations, and annoyances. It is work.

    But this “new world” has afforded me the opportunity and privilege to make a difference."

    a resounding "amen" here. My first 9-month school year of teaching has finished (and i'm already neck deep in the summer course).

    It's truly been rewarding, challenging, eye-opening, and frustrating in this "new world"

  2. Hope you enjoy the break, Don. If success equates to effort your students will remember you all their lives.

  3. @Chase: Glad to hear an "amen" from you. This is better news than to hear on April 1st that you were giving up and coming home. (You get the prize for best April Fools' joke.) I'm glad you triumphed in your teaching. I'm pleased, but not surprised: you rock!

    @Scriptor: I grew up hearing "Anything worth doing, is worth doing well," and although "good enough" sometimes is, that's seldom the case when teaching. Because I'm "aiming for the stars," my students often get my best stuff: again and again. So you're right, if effort equates to success, then I've become "memorable" to many of my students. Thanks for your kind words.


  4. Yay! The end is near. We just finished on Friday, and let me tell you the end is sweet. Especially with those surprise thank yous that students offer-- the students you might not expect a thank you from. It just goes to show we can affect others without even knowing it... that's what makes it all worth it. Hang in there for the final week, and I hope you enjoy your break! :)

  5. Okay...............with the title of the post I thought you meant like an Apocolypse of some sort and that you had suddenly gone mad or something Don!!
    I don't know you but by reading your post I can tell that you are truly a caring teacher. That in itself is priceless. I have a couple of teacher that I specifically remember who truly cared......C~A~R~E~D and had the honor of speaking at one of their retirements a couple of years ago. Know that you make a difference in the lives of children. That matters my friend!!

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  6. Miss H: I agree -- the end is sweet, including the thank-you's. It is very satisfying to know that you've made a difference. And it's nice to relax. Enjoy your break... I will too!

    Reggie Girl: The title "The End is Near" was meant to allure. I'm pleased to hear I "caught" you. Thanks for you comments. You are right, I do care about my students. I can do a lot of things. I've got options. I choose to teach. Even to teach at the elementary school level. Even to teach struggling students. And you are right: it is priceless... for the students and for me. It may be demanding... but so are a lot of jobs. But the rewards are real, lasting, and satisfying. Ahhh... and then it's summer!