The last day of school for the 2021-21 school year has arrived and to say I am relieved is an understatement. As I woke up in preparation for the day and arrived tardy to work, I had to keep reminding myself I survived the school year. I pulled through the toughest year in my 25 years of being an educator. In addition to the mental and emotional turmoil, I decided to break the rules and stand on a chair which caused me a little bit of physical pain as well. But in the midst of it all, I gave myself a pep talk, put on my end of year attire and limped into work with a smile on my face. I thought about all the things I endured this year but then decided to shift my focus to all the things I accomplished this year.
We were one of the school districts that tried the hybrid model. I taught online students and face to face students and sometimes their sessions overlapped. I teach students with special needs so think of the disadvantages for all parties that engaged. However, all of my students still had a fulfilling school year, they were able to show progress and their confidence increased.
I was tasked with having two of the most difficult students on campus, one on my caseload, one in my class. Both of these students had been to a minimum of four schools prior to coming to our happy place. Both of them managed to make it through an entire year of academia at one school, for the first time in their lives. We were able to build relationships with the students and develop their social and behavioral skills.
We thought we were losing team members but after a retirement announcement we managed to keep our team together. Many of us had to shift roles, but at least we get to continue growing together as one. Adding two new teachers to the team this year and possibly having to see them leave so soon was a bomber. So, we were elated to keep The Little Rascals together.
My evaluation, as always, exceeded expectations. I am very passionate about what I do so I generally don’t care about evaluations but to have my efforts acknowledged in written form was a highlight for this year. Many leaders do what’s necessary to get the job completed but don’t find time to encourage their teachers. So stating the obvious and having it noted in my file was a remarkable gift.
Last but not least, people, the kind words and acknowledgements I received for doing double duties and being names Teacher of the Year were heartfelt. Every day someone came by to extend a considerate gesture from a word of confirmation to small snacks to Happy Hour invites. This year really helped the bond in our school community.
As I prepare to walk out the door for a much needed break, I wanted to focus on the good times. I wanted to remember all the things that went well. I needed to release everything that drained me. As a leave I am reminded I am good enough, smart enough and strong enough. I am amazing!