|My classroom - drawn by one of my kids|
When I look back, I see all the missed opportunities and the different choices I could have made. I see the noisy disrupted classroom and the times I just had to work to muster the energy to do something about it. I see a teacher that could be so much better.
So, instead of posting lots of self-reflective musings (you get those all the time here), I thought I would post a few things that have been said to me in these past nine weeks. No, not the always humorous comments of my second graders. Just a few other observations that people have said to me.
1. In my post-observation meeting with my principal, he made this comment: "I can tell that you love the children. You like the children. That goes a long way. More important than some of these other things that can be fixed." I'm glad he can see this. Or maybe I glad that it comes through when sometimes I feel so frustrated. I do like each of the students in my class. Occasionally each of them is also not so lovable, but I do love each of them and their wonderful personalities.
2. The instructional coach at my school told me this: "I see that you care about the students. And you don't just care about your class. You care about them as individuals." I thought this was an interesting observation. I had to mull it over and reflect on it. Then I realized what she was saying. I am concerned about each student and think about what his strengths and challenges are. I want to find ways to reach each one, not with a magical lesson plan that makes everyone swoon. But with small things that speak to the individual child...or to specific groups. I want to connect with each one personally, to help each one fall in love with learning because it means something to him. (Is that too much to shoot for??)
3. One of my boys...one that can be challenging at times...asked me the other day: "How long will you be here?" I didn't know what he meant. As we talked further, he said: "I mean, how many years will you be at this school?" I told him I didn't know. "I hope it is a long time," he said. Then the moment was over. I think he was telling me that I've been doing something right. (Or at least that's how I'm taking it.) If he wants me to be around for a while, surely that's a good sign.
4. Finally, I was briefly talking with a friend. Just exchanging a few words as we met and were quickly going to part. He asked about school and I said it was good. He looked straight at me and said, "You are where God wants you to be." And I know I am. Sure, there are things that need to be improved. There are things I need to do to help my students grow and progress. But I'm where I should be at this moment in time. I don't know if it will be for a long time or not. But it is for this time.
I don't want to spend all that time wishing I'd done things differently. I'm putting down a marker here. Things have been going well. Things will be better. I have been doing a good job. I can be better. I am making a difference. And I will work to make a bigger one.
Not a bad nine weeks after all.