May 26, 2014

Teacher Musings - What I'll Miss, and What I Won't

I suppose it's high time that I post a bit about being a teacher now that it is nearly the end of May... sheesh, when did that happen?!

The school year is winding down, and it will come to a screeching halt in a matter of days. We have six school days left, and then I will officially be on summer break! I'm telling you, this break cannot come soon enough. If it wasn't for this Memorial Day holiday, I might have lost a little bit of my sanity, because my brain is definitely already on summer vacation. Oh, the tricks your mind can play!

As more and more people are releasing for summer, people keep asking me several questions:
1) Are you done with school?
2) Will you miss your kids?
3) What are you doing next year (since the school is closing)?

While the first question has already been addressed, the other two need a bit of explaining. I never really have a problem with being blatantly honest about things, which sometimes gets me into trouble, so I apologize if any of this sounds harsh - it's just coming straight out of the horse's mouth, and there's no sense in beating around the bush. (That's a lot of idioms for one sentence...)

Will I miss my kids? If I'm being completely honest... YES, of course I will miss them. It might not be a week after school is over, but I'm sure that I will miss them when my new batch of kids are driving me bonkers for whatever reason they so choose.

In the beginning of the semester, my 8th graders were my saving grace because they didn't need as much from me; my 6th graders were driving me absolutely insane because, well, they pretty much are insane at that age. Now, the complete opposite is true for me: my 8th graders drive me nuts because - let's face it - they're ego-centric jerks that couldn't care less about school, or anything aside from themselves for that matter; my 6th graders have completely stolen my heart, and they have won me over with their enthusiasm, curiosity, and willingness to learn (most of the time).

My 6th graders have made the shift of not wanting to work for me at all to basically doing whatever I ask them to do. There are exceptions, of course, but the majority of my little minions are willing to work very hard if I ask them to, which I do on a very regular basis. That has NOT been the norm for them, so making that shift is a really big deal. My 8th graders, on the other hand, started out not wanting to work, and have basically continued to do so; they had a good month or so after spring break, but then the "senioritis of middle school" set in. Hence, the majority of them couldn't care less about their grade in my class (which was shown by the lack of effort put into their final projects; my 6th graders ROCKED theirs... hence the picture below).


I should also probably explain why I call them minions - the 6th graders only... because they ARE minions. One day during class, we were reading out loud, and one of my students accidentally read the next student's "assigned" sentence. The following sentence started with "but." The student said "but" and paused, making sure that was where he was supposed to read. The class giggled. I said "but" and paused, assuring him that it was the spot for him to begin... and one student said, "You said but!" And the entire class burst into hysterical giggles. I couldn't help but laugh right along with them, because it was at that moment that I realized that 6th graders really are real-life minions. They're the perfect analogy!


I'm NOT going to miss my room being vandalized on the outside, broken into, or showered in fire extinguisher powder. I'm NOT going to miss being nearly technology-less, internet-less, and resource-less. I'm NOT going to miss having to walk my computer and papers all the way into the main building, down the hall, past the urine-drenched boys bathroom, and into the library to do anything on the internet - including entering grades, verifying observations, entering attendance, etc. I'm NOT going to miss that one student who ruined that name for me who is extremely rude, conceited, and ridiculously annoying; that laugh and that voice will forever be embedded in my brain as one of the most annoying sounds on the planet. I'm NOT going to miss that one boy with little-man syndrome who is the king of interruptions and being disrespectful in general. I'm NOT going to miss going home with the stench of middle school boys hanging all over me - a mixture of feet, B.O., and toots. I'm NOT going to miss random things from my desk going missing on a very consistent basis, mainly my good pens and pencils... and expo markers. I'm NOT going to miss having a minimum of four meetings per week (that are mostly pointless, despite their best efforts). I'm NOT going to miss having to stand with my head ON the speaker in order to hear every single announcement. I'm NOT going to miss a lot of things, really.






I'm really going to miss my 6th grade babies, though. I'm going to miss shaking their hands every day when they walk through my door. I'm going to miss rejecting their "cool" handshakes because "I'm not cool, I don't do that. I shake hands." and telling them that I'll give them one on the last day of school. I'm going to miss their crazy Hispanic/Latino names. I'm going to miss my 6th graders congregating around my door during passing period. I'm going to miss them mocking me: "Stop congregating around my door!" I'm going to miss them all calling out to me, "Miss! Miss! Miss!" I'm going to miss that little blonde boy of mine who knows that he is one of my favorites despite my best efforts; he does everything he possibly can to make me laugh when I'm trying to be serious, and it makes my heart melt every time, because he is both brilliant and hysterically funny. I won't miss that one wretched student who I wrote up at least three times, but I will miss the days when he FINALLY let his guard down enough to ask questions and put forth effort - it only took four freaking months. I'm going to miss them confiding in me, telling me things that make me laugh and make me cry. Basically, I'm going to miss those relationships that have been built, and won't continue after next week - how teachers go through this kind of torture year after year is beyond me.

Now... what am I doing next year since my school is closing? Yeah, my school is closing. It's a middle school on the southwest side of the city, which means it's pretty ghetto (if you didn't get that from some of the things that I won't miss). That's not why it's closing. It's mostly due to stuff that doesn't have to do with the school itself - government and legislation shenanigans that have the school being remodeled into a pre-k through 3rd grade school. The decision was solidified when the middle school received a grade of D or F for several years in a row (a lot of which has to do with test scores that are hindered by humongous language barriers). So, even if I wanted to stay at this middle school, I couldn't.

Really, the Lord has provided the most ideal situation for me next year. I have accepted a job at the high school at which I student taught last semester; I will be teaching English II (10th grade), which is what I taught last semester under the umbrella of my amazing mentor teacher, with whom I will be on the same grade-level planning team. I absolutely LOVE that high school, the other faculty, the administration, the facilities, the location, and the fact that it is high school and not middle school. It's going to be a tough transition, and there is way more pressure, not only because the school is better, but because it is also a testing year. All that being said, my mentor and other faculty are going to be a wonderful support system within the building - something that I haven't really had at my current school.


I have learned so much during this ridiculously hectic first semester of teaching, but I have so much more that I need to learn. I'm getting there, but I also think that I have survived so well for a reason. If ever I was meant for a profession, teaching is most certainly it...

...I am REALLY looking forward to that summer break, though. ;)

2 comments:

  1. I'm so happy for you Nicole. I know you will be amazing at whatever you teach.

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  2. This post was such a nice read. I'm "over" several kids, while it is so hard to say goodbye for the summer with others. Teaching is bipolar like that. I love your comments about 6th grade. In the words of middle schoolers, they are "cray cray", their energy is hard to contain and they talk, talk, talk every chance they get. That being said, they are loyal as heck once they start getting to know and like you and will do anything for their teacher. I love that age level so much and am glad they brought you lots of joy and laughs this year. I know you will make wonderful memories with 10th graders next year. Congratulations!

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