This time last year, I was getting ready for an exciting night out enjoying the city nightlife. It had been a rough couple of months, and I was excited to squeeze in one last night of fun before the impending doom of returning to the classroom post-winter break...
This year, I could not be happier NOT to be getting all dolled up and slipping on high heels. In fact, I am perfectly content to be wearing jeans right now, and to enjoy a quiet New Year's of yummy food, wine, and a movie with a few high school friends. Sometimes there is nothing sweeter than a relaxing evening, and I don't care if that makes me middle-aged at heart! Like last year, I must admit that I am dreading Monday morning...but the reasons are SO vastly different this time. I am NOT dreading Monday because I can't bear the pressure, because my students are crazy, or because I hate my job. I'm honestly just dreading waking up at 5am and not being able to read in bed for hours!!
2010 was not the most eventful year in my life. It honestly was fairly dull, but in that peaceful, satisfying kind of way. In 2010, I...
- Learned to take control of management in my classroom. I finally understood the importance of teaching and reteaching (and REreteaching!) routines and procedures that both work for me and work for my students. I realized that just because I had planned something in my dream-classroom-in-my-head, it might not work out in real life. And most importantly, I realized that that's okay--you can change plans as often as is necessary. :)
- Survived my first round of ISAT testing, and miraculously the kiddos did too!
- Experienced the exciting reality of what happens when a student knocks over your fish bowl in class, including attempting to pick up a live beta and picking shards of glass out of carpeting. Oh 5th grade...
- Came to terms with the distressing realities of stealing, lying, and emotional distress in the classroom. I realized just how sad and true the stories of some of these students are, and faced the humbling reality that there is not always very much I can do to help, no matter how badly I want to.
- Approached the end of the year with a completely different attitude about myself, my work, and my students than I had had months previously. I saw just how far they had come, I had come, and we had come together. And it felt...amazing.
- Put a hold on my previous plans of service abroad, realizing that I had begun a job here that was far from complete. Instead of packing up my classroom, I signed a contract for the 2010-2011 school year, 100% confident that I was making the right choice and excited to return in August for a fresh start.
- Paid off my student loans (!!!) thanks to a rent-free year of living with mommy and daddy!
- Felt very grown up when I bought my first NEW car: a 2010 toyota prius
- Relished my first summer working less than 20 hours a week in years. I used this special time to recharge my batteries, mentally and physically, with many naps, reading some amazing books, and rediscovering running in a whole new way.
- Ran my first and second 5Ks, took on a whole new challenge by registering for my half-marathon, and was jubilant to discover the amazing things my body can do for me when I treat it right!
- ...got a stress fracture in my right tibia that promptly put a hold on my new running passion for a few months.
- Started YEAR 2 at my school, and was AMAZED to see and feel the difference in myself and my classroom, having had that first year under my belt.
- Faced a reality of students who CANNOT READ in 5th grade, and learned how critical my responsibility is to advocate and fight for my students.
- Fell in love with Writing Workshop!
- Fell in love with teaching again, come to think of it... :)
^and I mean that. I did fall in love with teaching again in 2010. I am still stressed, I still yell sometimes, I still feel helpless, and the kids still drive me crazy sometimes...but I love my job. That alone is both a blessing and a miracle. And, in an economy when so many either are unemployed or stuck in a job that is unfulfilling, it is something to be so grateful for. I am grateful for so much as I look back on 2010. Maybe it was a more eventful year than I'd originally thought...