I have taught children from the ages of nine to fourteen for the last nine and a half years. I think I have taught them a few things, I hope I have, and if the comments I get from kids after they leave our classroom is any indication, then some of the things we dreamt up together did make a difference to them.
Yet, teaching was never about me. This journey we are on every day, every year, was never about the adult in the room, but rather those kids that come every day. Not always because they want to but because for some reason the universe has decided that we will be on this journey together.
So as another year winds down. So as the calendar tells me only eight more days. So as I finish my third year as a 7th-grade teacher, I cannot help but think of all the things my students have taught me this year. Those things I don’t ever want to forget.
They taught me that being human would always trump being a teacher.
That a single story never has to define who we are, even if others refuse to believe otherwise.
That hugs can go a long way, even when said hug is to a child that towers over you.
That sometimes truths are not easy to share, nor easy to hear, and yet they can change everything.
That having faith in every child, not just the easy ones, will always take you further, even if it so hard.
They have taught me that I never know the full story and can only be grateful for the pieces that I get to know.
That choice in some way, even if tiny, will always lead to more engagement.
That I need to love first, teach second, thank you, Jed, for reminding me.
That sometimes kids don’t know how big of an effect they have on us even if we swear they set out to push ever single button they could find.
That the best part of my day will always be them, getting to teach them, getting to learn from them.
That sometimes teaching simply is preserving hope, more than anything else.
They have taught me that even when you want to shut your door, you should leave it open as you don’t know what you might miss.
That if we want real connections then we have to be real to begin with.
That even if something has worked in the past, there is no guarantee in the future.
That sometimes we don’t make much of a difference, even if we tried with every piece of us, and all we can hope is that we did not do further damage and that they knew we tried.
They have taught me that we are not perfect, that we can plan, and dream, and scaffold, and support, and yet still come up short. That we are humans in the truest sense of the word and we are therefore inherently flawed, and yet, that should never stop us from trying to become better.
But the biggest thing, I was taught this year?
That I choose the narrative of how the year will be for me. That I choose the way the story is told in our classroom. That I choose whether this was a good year or a bad.
And that lesson was the lesson I needed the most. I will miss this group of kids.
If you like what you read here, consider reading any of my books; the newest called Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration, a how-to guide for those who would like to infuse global collaboration into their curriculum, was just released. I am currently working on a new literacy book, called Passionate Readers and it will be published in the summer of 2017 by Routledge.If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.