Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reflections on the 2011-2012 School Year

Wow, I can't believe school is almost over.  When I think back to August and take myself through the entire school year, I couldn't be more flooded with thoughts and memories...

Days before School Started (August)
  • I lost my brother and my first pregnancy within two days of each other.  The day after my miscarriage/the day before my brother's funeral was our school open house where I met all my new students and their families.  I am still in awe that I handled all of that.
  • Our first para-educator leaves our team.  I have the realization that every single person I am working with this year is brand new to our school except for me...yikes!
  • Our special ed teacher moves to Utah..my students are without support until the end of January
  • Thanksgiving/Christmas...first big holidays without my brother

  • My students raised $250 for Afghanistan: putting in wells, sending kids to school, and giving kids the well-rounded care they need

  • FINALLY, we have a new special ed teacher to help service our team
  • My math and science teaching partner resigns, we have days to find a replacement, my team is in rough shape.
  • My new team mate starts and the team improves almost instantly.  I could write all day about her, but I won't :)  She is phenomenal in every sense of the word and I am looking forward to being dynamite next year.  Thank you for stepping in and stepping up, we in Team 61 are soooo thankful for you! 
  • Another para-educator leaves
  • I have my second miscarriage right before spring break
  • After spring break we go through at least two para-educators who both are only with us for a few days to a week
  • Because of my students and my earlier conversation about 'being the change' I decide to be open about my fertility struggles
  • Another para-educator leaves
  • Towards the end of May we get a para-educator that stays with us the rest of the year! :)
  • I honestly have a blissful end of the year with my students in spite of everything they/I have been through
There a strong part of me ready to shut the door on the school year just like I was ready to shut the door on the year 2011.  I'm ready to move on, move forward and close the book on what' s been a difficult year personally and professionally for me.   

There's also a strong part of me so emotional about this school year ending.  I find myself not wanting to send this group of kids on.  I find myself tearing up at what an amazing relationship our team family has together in spite of all the changes and the often seeming 'revolving door' of adults that's come in and out of their lives.  I find myself in awe of how well eleven and twelve-year-olds handle change; how resilient they are, how accepting, loving, and welcoming.  I find myself feeling closer to them than other sixth grade groups because even though they were not aware of all the things I've had to deal with personally this year, they were there for me, keeping me going every day, giving me a reason to be positive, compassionate, and loving.  I needed these kids this year just as much as they needed me I think :)  I'm sad to see a group of people who love each other so much having to move on.  This group of kids will surely go on to do amazing things, I have no doubt.

I don't know why so much has happened to me during this school year, but I do know I wouldn't have wanted to experience it with any other group of sixth graders.  I am changed because of them and I know I am more positive, hopeful, and have been able to pull through all that I've been through because of them as well.  I know we often talk about how much teachers can make a difference to their students, but I can sure tell you that students can make quite a difference to a teacher as well :)

Goodbye 2011-2012 school year...

I hope this teachers, heals, and connects...    

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