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!