i can hardly believe it’s true, but i am ALMOST done with my second year in the classroom. i still have an enormous stack of finals to grade (why do i insist on making my finals so long??), but when i lock my classroom door on friday afternoon and drive away from the parking lot, my teaching responsibilities for this school year will be done.
when i decided to become a teacher, i could not have dreamt up a better situation for myself. even though i’m double-endorsed in special ed and english, i figured i’d only be able to use my special ed endorsement for years since it is near impossible to land a steady position teaching english. not the case for me. most of my time is spent teaching ap lang & comp, but since we have a compulsory model of ap, my whole special ed case load is mainstreamed into my ap classes (… that whole situation is a long blog post for another day). at times, it can feel impossible to do my job effectively with the enormous range of students i have, but i feel extremely lucky to have this position.
i came into the year knowing i would have every junior at our school (along with a section of seniors), and i also knew the juniors had the (deserved?) reputation of being a “hot mess.” all last summer, i feared starting the school year, and in some ways, the class lived up to its reputation. just a few weeks ago, i had a sub (jury duty… again) who left me a note about my 4th period class. as a retired teacher, he went out of his way to offer his sincere condolences for me having “one of the most dysfunctional classes” he’d ever been a part of. he reminded me to keep my “chin up” though since that 4th period class was “the type of class that you only have to deal with once every ten years.”
10 months after i started with this class, i recognize how blessed i am to have worked with this challenging, but incredibly rewarding group (and certainly in no need of consolation). when i talked to my 4th period a few days later, i just told them we’d let the past stay in the past. they breathed a huge sigh of relief, and for the rest of the period, we all busted our butts getting ready for my monster final.
there are many weaknesses in my teaching. i’m not always technically sound, and sometimes my well-planned lessons flop. but i’m really proud of the relationships i was able to build with kids that have had a rough go at school for a long time.
and now, i’m also feeling really excited to give it another go in september (especially if the plans come together and i start seminary in the fall). i visited my incoming students today and handed them their summer reading assignments: wesley yang’s paper tigers and amy chua’s why chinese mothers are superior.
it’s gonna be a lot of fun working with the next group — but before it’s time to start analyzing yang’s rhetoric, summer beckons me.