Now that the last of my grades are entered, and the year has officially come to an close, I can finally take a deep figurative breath. My goal for my first year of teaching was to make it to the end of the year and still hopefully want to continue being a teacher. So looking back it was definitely a successful year.
I think back to all the behavioral issues, parent conferences and e-mails, deadlines, lesson planning, field trips and the many other things that is cumulatively responsible for my hair loss. Then I read all the notes the students wrote me in my yearbook, recall the shout-outs from the departing 8th graders during their speeches to the returning Middle School student, and remember the hugs, comments and love I received at the end of the year and I wouldn't wish that I had any other job.
The learning curve was STEEP this first year, and there are many things that I did not do well, or many places I could have done better, but becoming a great teacher is an ever evolving process. It requires continual growth, a disdain for contentment, and a constant desire for improvement. "Greatness" of a teacher is not measured in test scores (that helps you keep your job though), but rather it is measured on the level concern and impact on the students' overall development of character and well-being, which I have learned sometimes requires the "tough love" mentality. Now taking an introspective reflection of myself at the end of this first year, I feel that I can hold my head high and be proud of the foundation that I have laid for my development into a "great" teacher in the future.
Now it's time for some well deserved vacation time! Off to Cambodia :)