I had such a great group of kids this year, and we've been through a lot together. I actually got a little choked up today giving out the end of the year awards I made for the kids.
The first award that got to me was for the little girl who got on my nerves this year. Of all the kids in my class, she was the hardest one, but I gave her an award for making creative and beautiful projects (which is very true). The part that almost got to me was that all of the other students guessed who the award was for. Sometimes this girl was tough for them to get along with too, and I love that they all still saw her strength just like I did. I actually got a really nice e-mail from her mom today thanking me too. She was a tough case, but I would take her again=).
The second award that got to me was for my student who fought for her life this year. I already cried once when I read her essay about how she had a hard year because of her brain tumor, but she was so happy she had all of us to help her get through it. I almost cried reading her award about how she always did her best even when things were hard. I was just so happy that things ended well with her sitting there in my class ready to go to fourth grade.
The last award that got to me was for my student who has been learning English. It got to me because she understood the award. At the beginning of the year she came in so scared not knowing what was going on. She still has a long way to go, but she understood what her award was for.
It was hard for me to do class placement for next year because I want to keep them all. I haven't said that every year I've taught. I haven't wanted to keep an entire class any year, but I would love to have another year with these kids.
This year it was so tough for me to start out because of the difficult class I had the year before. I made a lot of mistakes and I was suffering from a total lack of confidence. Next year, I think it will be hard to get excited because this year was so good.
I needed this year. I was on the verge of not being able to do this job. If I had to deal with the type of administration I dealt with last year, then I think I would have ended up leaving the profession. If I had dealt with the number of difficult kids I dealt with last year, then I think it may have led to the end of my journey as a teacher. If I had dealt with parents as difficult as a couple of the ones I had last year, I am not sure I could have handled it. I am sad to see a good year end, but I am also much stronger than I started out. I have been encouraged enough to deal with the discouragements that come with the territory.
Every year is a gamble. As teachers, we play the hand we're dealt. I am ready though. Bring on whatever the future holds.