Here we go. It is time to plan for a new journey, experience, extravaganza, adventure, or to the layperson… a new school year.
As the school year ends in June, I always have this bittersweet feeling.
Bitter because I am passing on a group of students that have changed me as a person. They are all 8th graders when I meet them in September and 9th graders when I see them off in June. As a middle school teacher, I can count on a few things with my students:
- They will act as though their middle school teachers are nagging them, pushing them, caring for them and pressuring them to do the right thing.
- They will forget us when it comes time to write down their “favorite” teacher. We were there when they had a million new hormones coursing through their bodies, when they discovered the opposite sex, when they were expected to be more responsible (and wanted that responsibility but may not have been able to handle it but wanted it never the less). Their middle school teachers were more than likely not there when they became a person capable of responsiblity.
- Many of them, dare I say most, will realize later they are the hormone laced monsters that are human adolescents. For example the boy who gave his teachers fits through middle school and later “re-introduced” himself to me at a Panera Bread and apologized for his actions. He did not need to do this, but felt he needed to and I appreciate it.
Sweet because I realize they are in great hands as they move to our high school (which has been featured in the U.S. News Top High Schools in America list since 2006) and will do just fine in life.
Sweet because I will have the summer months to refresh, refine and update my lesson plans. I will re-energize myself (anyone not understanding the need for this re-energizing time should get to know a teacher) by doing the following:
- Sweet because I have time to spend reflecting on to the learning that went on and how I can make it better next year. I will spend hours upon hours (nearly 24 per day) thinking about how I can be better (it is a curse my wonderful parents have given me, I am a perfectionist) at my craft and profession.
- Sweet because I will spend 15-20 hours per week (yes through all this time “off”) reading about how other educators teach and reach students, connecting with a seemingly ever-growing Professional Learning Network (PLN) in Twitter and using it all to make myself better. By the way, if you are not on Twitter connecting yourself to others, what are you waiting for? Do it right after you read this!
This summer I have been given an incredible opportunity to teach a class of Language Arts to go with my History classes. An extremely lucky group of students will have yours truly as their History teacher as well as their English teacher. We will have a truly incredible journey together diving into the process of becoming better readers and writers. We will read and write together but best of all, we will have the chance to share these experiences with one another.
- Students and I will discover the joy of reading together
- Students and I will refine our writing skills together. There will be frustration but the process is the most important thing besides the fact that the thoughts are our own.
- Students and I will have a place where we can recommend readings, share our opinions of the readings through QR code book reviews and Goodreads book reviews.
My summer has given me a chance to refresh myself and prepare an exciting journey for my students and myself. I have re-found my love and passion for reading young adult novels.
I can’t wait to embark on our journey together with my young learners…