Time really did fly after Spring Break. It still seems surreal that an entire year of teaching has gone by. Just a year ago I was headed to Tulsa like the 2013s are to teach summer school, and now I’m dusting off the final pieces of my first year of teaching as I put the final sentences on my End of Year reflection guide. The guide was filled with questions about whether or not I put my students on life-changing pathways or if I believed I kept to my vision for my classroom. There were so many questions, and I have a multitude of thoughts about the school year. I thought I’d write this incredibly deep and reflective post about what the year has meant to me. But nothing ever sounded right. Nothing ever quite encompassed what happened to my students or me in Room 3081 of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. I can simply say that no one left the journey unmarked. I think the best way to describe the year is through this note I received at the end of the year from one of my female students. It embodies who I wished to be as a teacher, and how I hope the vast majority of my students viewed me and the unforgettable year we spent together, proving that even though my students may be “poster children” of the achievement gap–with one foot on the ledge and the other dangerously hovering above the chasm between success and dropping out/off–with hard work they can put both feet firmly back on solid ground.
(The authenticity of the note, including mistakes, has been kept so it is more real.)
Today my class are writing a thank you note to the teachers. I choose you Ms. Younge because you are a great teacher and I don’t like the subject reading but you made me love it and this year it was my favorite subject. Even though I get bad grades and we still trying I was kinda shy to ask for help at times. Having you as a teacher really anchored me to the school and help me feel comfortable. As a teacher you put me at ease and helped me find success in a subject I was more frustrating. You taught me to incessantly push to get better, work harder, and focus on the details. I make decisions today with that mindset–to learn but never regret and live with my goals in mind. As a teacher your dedication and no excuses attitude enabled me to feel like a valuable part of something important. I would like to thank you Ms. Younge for me and a hundred of other students you made an unquantifiable positive in our life.
Love: D.M. Always
1 thought on “And So Ends the First Year…”
Odelia, you are an outstanding educator. There is an enormous amount of power in connecting the work that is done with your students and deep personal reflection of that work. During the schoo year, you honored your students by being ferocious enough to teach them and love them. It is clearly articulated in the letter that was written to you. I am a fan. I heart you.