This has been a very difficult post to write. I kept putting it off, making excuses and losing myself in the busyness of end-of-year tasks and summer plans. I must have hit the delete button many times, trying to find a positive angle on what has been a very dark time for me. In the end, I’m just going to write plainly.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated the graduation of our 8th Graders. This cohort was our last batch of graduates since our school closed mid-June. I have proudly witnessed their growth from gangly and timid 5th Graders to confident and fashion-conscious incoming high school freshmen. Also, last Friday, we officially closed our classroom doors and turned in our keys for the last time.
It pained me deeply to think that my colleagues, students, and I would not be returning in the fall. The school had become a second home to me, and my colleagues were my second family. Already, many of them have relocated to different states, to different schools, and even different career fields. Each day was a joy to work with such funny, loving, and supportive people. I wish them the best in all that they do, and hope that we can continue to keep in touch.
It is very easy to get lost in sadness, and to get overwhelmed with anxiety and fear of the unknown future. However, I remind myself of a graduate’s quote shared in her farewell speech–“This is not the last chapter, but just the beginning of a new book.” I think back to who I was five years ago as a new teacher, and to who I am now.
I’m thankful for the experiences and the people who have helped shape me and my teaching. Without them, I would not have…
…learned how to become an advocate for myself, my students, and colleagues.
…developed strong classroom management and communication skills with inner-city students.
…evolved my teaching philosophy and experimented with different styles and practices.
…created a professional learning network with social media and found so many mentors.
…applied for the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy and become one of its conference speakers.
…become fearless and tried new things in the classroom each month, even if it failed.
…learned it was okay to fail too.
…tried flipped classrooms.
…bring an after school STEM program to life.
…gained confidence in my strengths and focused less on my weaknesses.
…learned to accept and rely on others’ support and love to make myself a better teacher.
There are so many more wonderful memories, good times, and valuable lessons to remember and take away from all these years working at the school. I will remember them always, and hold them close. Now, I look at this new fresh page before me and wait to see how the next story unfolds! Oh, I hope it will be a grand adventure, full of bigger and better things to come!