Sunday, April 24, 2005

on my mind

Is it really the last week of April? Seriously??

And it's also Sunday night already, but I have a faculty meeting tomorrow (the last one of the year!), so no kids until Tuesday.

While I enjoy my day "off," it also means I only have 4 days to actually teach this week. It's getting so close to the end of the year, and I still have so much material to cover. This is the time of year that I start to panic about not reaching some of my students. After 5 years of teaching, I know that it's just not possible to do everything I want to do in the space of one year. And I know that no matter how much effort I put forth, I won't be able to get every child on level and ready for second grade.

Truthfully (and I know other teachers will back me up here), a lot of it is out of my hands. Once they leave my classroom for the day, I have no say in what they hear, say, do or see. I can't control how late they stay up, what kind of shows they watch, where and when they do their homework, what (if any) books they read, what they eat, who they hang out with, or what their parents say to them. When they come in with no pencils or no homework, my first instinct is to get mad at the child... and then I remind myself, "They are six and seven years old. Someone else should be helping them with these things."

It all frustrates me more than I can put into words.

And then there are the ones who will be ready for second grade when they leave me in June. And honestly, some of them have been ready for months. For every child that I didn't reach, there's one that I did. I have to remember them, too. I have to count all of them among my successes, because even my slowest learners and the most struggling readers and writers have made some progress.

I know it all sounds sappy and smarmy, but for me, this comes with the territory. September is enthusiasm and optimism. November is exhaustion and disillusionment. January is rejuvenation and hope. April is frustration and doubt. June is relief, mixed with elation and also a bit of sadness. Over the summer, I start thinking, planning, setting up and looking forward. And then it starts all over again.

It's all part of the joy of being a teacher. God, I love it.


Sara said...

Excellent post. I agree with that was written. We do our very best. We have them from eight to three and then they are not in our caring hands. Good for you for being reflective and caring and actually thinking about this.

Pigs said... get no kids when you have a faculty meeting? We have them every Wednesday from 3:45-5:00!