You already know that I HATE the end of the school year. While everyone else is excited for summer, all I can think of is the loss of graduating students. Of course I am overwhelmingly happy to see my students go off into the world, I just get a little too overwhelmed sometimes. This year we are not just promoting 600+ students, we are also losing about 30% of our staff due to SERP, RIF, and a new high school. In addition, it was announced this week that my favorite administrator is leaving for a position at the district office.
This is the end of my 10th year teaching the same subjects, in the same classroom, on the same campus, parking in the same space, eating lunch at the same taco stand on Tuesdays. My closest friend on campus is leaving for the new high school that opens in the fall. It’s “state of the art” in every way led by a motivated and dynamic administrative staff. Do you get a sense of how I’m feeling? Still, it’s been an amazing decade full of personal and professional growth. I have helped many students up the next rung of their ladder.
This spring, like every spring, I explored the teacher job market. I found an interesting position teaching technology in a nearby state where I would love to live. However, the good advice of friends kept me in place. So now as the 2008-2009 school year draws to a close, I am preparing for the 2009-2010 school year: meeting with next year’s advanced students, making plans for the summer, and revising the 9th edition of my multimedia curriculum. I am focusing on the positive tasks so that I do not get distracted by the impending loss of my graduating students.
Teaching is like that. Teachers pour their heart and soul into the success of their students. We work alone most of the time and cherish the few moments we get with other adults. We commit ourselves to a job that does not offer the opportunity for advancement (administration does not count), or even a merit-based paycheck. We are told what standards to teach, and when to teach them. We are told by the “professionals” that while we too are considered “professional” that “anyone” can be a school teacher, and that “everyone” knows how to educate children. Of course they do.
Teaching is a job that is full of disappointments. I know, they never tell you that in teacher school, but it is. More importantly, teaching is a job full of hope. And not just imagined, or wished for hope, but actual hope. Teachers serve their students daily. We lift our pupils up and often out of their situations, however dire. We educate children giving them hope for their lives today, and for their future tomorrows. Teachers inspire their students to learn, grow, and succeed. It is crucial that committed and confident teachers stay in the game. I plan to continue.