Reflections on a School Year

Whoosh! Another year is over! I can’t seem to believe it! I keep pinching myself and saying “I don’t have to eat at 11:20? I don’t have to teach math at 8:30 or remember to make a card by 2:10 on Thursday? I don’t have to remember who is going home with whom on Monday, but not Tuesday, but every other Wednesday?

Yes, I’ll admit it, after this year, I feel cynical, optimistic, angry, sad, happy, exhausted, totally energized, lost, found and, most importantly, the sweet taste of freedom has never felt this good! Two days in and I’m overwhelmed with this new sense of time and belonging to myself.

This is real- this is what teaching IS. It’s not apples and aprons and neat packages. It’s blood, plenty of sweat and lots of tears. Some of my parents left without even saying “Thank You”, others were so kind and grateful, I wanted to cry. This is why I have to write this, because I still don’t think people actually  get what we are doing and the amount of energy, learning, professionalism and experience it takes to do it.

Teaching is really hard. Not hard like roofing, but hard like roofing with 28 five year olds with you. Not hard like customer service or the restaurant industry, but hard like if-you-think-they-didn’t-like-their-dinner-see-how-they-are-when-it-comes-to-their-children.

I was thinking about all of the pressures we face. Teachers, on the whole, Bless Us, we don’t and probably can’t actually communicate to you EXACTLY HOW LOUD AND TRYING EACH DAY IS BY NATURE. They cry, they engage in confrontational behaviors from 8am-3pm and times 20 children, they push, they test, they lie, they fight, they cooperate, they help, they are sweet, they are sour. THEY ARE HUMAN. And so are WE!

So, not only do you have the pressure from the parents, administration, PD, you HAVE THESE CHILDREN FOLLOWING YOU EVERYWHERE YOU GO! ALL DAY LONG! 5 DAYS A WEEK! ALL YEAR!

Have a continuous birthday party for the same amount of time with 28 kids (God Bless Erin Rocklewitz and Cara Johnson and all the others out there with huge numbers- I’m not sure I could do it with the same professionalism and poise you each did) and let me know how you are doing afterwards. Its a beating.

I feel worn down. I share this not to be the old debbie downer, but to be honest enough for the people who are doing this work everyday to know I am talking to you.

For me, this year it has always come back to #Kinderchat. You have lifted me up when I felt like the crappiest teacher in the world. You let me shine when I felt like the best teacher in the world. You let me fall and helped me up and kept me smiling. You were and are my community of colleagues. I hope each one of you had similar experiences, albeit I wish for you the successes!

Just look at this that came through just as I was writing this- from the wonderful educator and friend, Michelle

here’s the previous tweet she’s referring to:

#Kinderchat is not an organization about “the me”, it’s is an organization about the YOU. It requires one to listen, to create, to learn, to fail, fall, succeed, share and most importantly, to celebrate each other. This is what we are doing. It s not about endless chatter of Section C, Article 39 of whatever document is next in line, it is about ANGELA’S TOOTH. And from Angela’s tooth (and why it was such a big deal it fell out on the Thursday before her going off to first grade.) THAT IS COMMUNITY. THAT is empathy, THAT is learning, love and all the things we are trying to do in Early Childhood.

#Kinderchat, don’t let the turkey’s get you down. We only get stronger through your sharing, loving, laughter and wonderful sense of community.  And to those still in school, YOU CAN DO IT!

Nothing is better than watching the waves of the #Kinderchat school years begin and end. And nothing better than the support and friendship I’ve found among this wonderful community. Thanks all, now let’s BRING IT ON HOME!

#EdcampKinder “Dessert in the Desert” is in 27 (?!) days. Get ready to party.