It would only be fair if, with as much attention I’ve given to the darker side of teaching, I give equal screen time to the positive happenings in and around me recently.
Today we had some great conversations about Catcher in the Rye. I laughed. My students laughed. Many of them–I could tell–are caught up in the reading! I enjoyed teaching today.
My GPS (a mandatory study hall at the end of the day) has made me laugh every day this week. Once it was when a kid started to call me “mom.”
The juniors who remain in my media studies class spent time preparing lesson plans–they are teaching class next week.
One of my good friends staged an intervention between me and my AP students. They apparently were concerned at my recent irritability and frustration, so my friend (who teaches AP Calc and has about half of my class in either AP or PreCalc A) hijacked the first few minutes of class to tell them, “She’s tough because she cares! If she starts ignoring you, that’s when you need to be worried!” And then she handed out lollipops.
Former students, home from their first year of college, have stopped by to say hello; seniors who graduate on Saturday have stopped by to say goodbye, have written thank you notes to me for being their teacher.
And I’m starting to feel the excitement of the end of the school year–not because I’m tired and can’t wait to sleep in (although that is definitely a plus), but because I’m excited to get on with the business of making what I do better for next year.
I think that’s my yardstick to measure whether I’m ready to retire: if the prospect of summer doesn’t motivate me to make my classes better, then it’s time to find something new. I hope that won’t happen for many years.