As the year ends, I’m looking toward next fall.
How do I do a better job balancing how to meet my students where they are and challenging them to do better?
I feel like I know most of my failings: I’m not as funny as I think I am; I’m too slow at getting things graded, because procrastination has always been my thing; I give too many chances; sometimes my attempts to help misfire; sometimes I forget to think before I speak; sometimes I just get cranky.
I think my strengths all relate to building good relationships with many of my students. Kids need to know someone believes in them; they need someone to believe in them. They also need someone to push them to try harder, get better, get ready for life. I’d like to think I do that, but I’m not really sure. I know I’m not the person students remember as “getting them ready for college”. I want to meet them where they are and help them get better. I want to encourage them to make smart choices. I want them to go on and become successful by their own measure.
Many of my former students have gone on to become great adults. My measure for success is whether or not they are taking care of their children, their bills, themselves. I love running into some of them around town. I get to see kids who were genuine jackasses in class as real adults who are taking care of themselves and their lives. I get to see kids who barely graduated working in job and careers that fit them incredibly well. I get to see kids who had bump after bump after poor decision bump figure themselves out and redefine success for themselves.
I’ve never really wanted to be anything other than a teacher. I have racked up many failures and I still have some kids who cannot stand me (which, fair) and I have moments that taught me a lot about people, myself, and I have learned from those moments. I just always end the year feeling like I have so much to fix, to do better…so many ways I need to be better.