Here I am. Just an hour out of my first year of teaching and I have no idea what it is I'm feeling right now. It's a strange mix of happy, sad, hopeful, anxious, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. I'm officially no longer a first year teacher. I feel accomplished, and yet there is so much I want to learn. What. A. Whirlwind.
There are many things I learned this year about myself as a teacher and as a person. There are some things I plan to do very differently next year and some things I plan to do just the same. There are some moments I wish I could take back and some moments I wish I could replay forever.
This is what I know:
- I will never forget my first class. I learned as much from this group of kids as they did from me -- Maybe even more. They made me laugh, smile, cry, yell, and absolutely melt. They broke my heart and then put it back together. They challenged me. They made me stretch myself in ways I didn't know I could. I will miss them terribly, and it makes me anxious to know I will start all over with a new group.
- I will be forever grateful for everyone I've collaborated with this year. From my family, to my grade level team, to my mentor, and to you bloggers. I know that this collaboration is what got me through the year. It gave me amazing ideas, inspiration, and motivation. When I was feeling down, this amazing network of teachers helped me through it. I'm so grateful.
- Teaching is in my heart and soul. I would be lying if I said this year was easy. Was I successful? Sure! My kids learned and achieved. I scored very highly on my evaluations. But there was so much working inside of me throughout this year -- anxiety, stress, worry, pressure. Teaching is no cake walk. The work is never-ending. Just when you think you've made a dent, something else piles up. Every single day is different and every single child is different. There were days when I wanted to pull my hair out. But underneath the stress of the job, there is so much heart. I know, without a doubt, that teaching is my calling. Those kids that challenge me, are being sent to me for a reason and a purpose. I was made for this. When those inevitable rough days come along, I can step back and look at the big picture, and that is this: I was born to teach. I am making a difference in these 27 lives. They are making a difference in mine.