I’m on Summer Vacation! 🙂
I made it.
When I think back to how this school year started, it feels like it was YEARS ago. I’m not kidding. Last August, I poured my heart out in THIS POST saying how much anxiety I was feeling and the next thing I knew, school was postponed a week due to the Holy Jim Fire.
And then . . . I struggled all throughout this school year. I was not my best self. I struggled with everything. From curriculum to classroom management to committee meetings, I struggled.
It was humbling, frustrating, and exhausting. I kept saying to anyone who would listen that I was not myself. That my brain wasn’t working. That I couldn’t remember the most simple things! I was late to SSTs and almost missed two super important IEP meetings. THAT IS NOT LIKE ME.
I felt so out of sorts!
By the way, don’t feel nervous that I’m leading up to some doctor diagnosis of Kristin’s brain is no longer functioning at full capacity and she will spend the summer with a special electrode hat on her head to reboot it.
Nope. Apparently, at last look, the wrinkles on my forehead (which do NOT give me character, thank you very much to the friend who recently said so, but NO) mean I am old, and remembering things without writing them down and/or writing them down but forgetting to look at them is just a symptom of said old-ness.
Anyway, then I wrote THIS ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT POST. And I ended the year on a high. I did. I REALLY DID.
That is not to say I was perfect in any way. I am NOT here to tell you that I adjusted my attitude and BAM – butterflies flew out of my nether regions and rainbows crossed the sky over my head and puppies were cuddling with me and breathing their sweet puppy breath all over me.
I still had my moments. I can’t tell you how many times I repeated this phrase inside my head: Don’t let their behavior affect my behavior. Don’t let their behavior affect my behavior. The reason I can’t tell you how many times? I can’t count that freaking high.
I had the Sunday Blues practically every single weekend.
Keeping it real, folks.
I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried.
I created lessons that I thought would be fun and guess what? Some were and some were not.
I made my kids laugh because I let go and I was silly.
I learned how to floss (the dance) almost perfectly.
My kids learned how to be respectful. One example? When I said good morning or hello, every single one said a greeting back to me by the end of the year. They would look me in my eyes and GREET ME!
They learned how to take turns. They stood up for one another. And I think we had one day where NO ONE cried. ONE WHOLE DAY WHERE NO ONE CRIED.
All of my kids made progress. In reading and writing and math. They became experts in the solar system and plants and bats, and the American symbols, and the continents, and pioneers, and countless other things.
In May, the last month of the school year, we hit our stride. Steve or my mom or Kerry would ask me how my day was and I would say REALLY GOOD. For days on end, I would say I HAD A GREAT DAY! MY KIDS WERE GREAT!
It took us until MAY to become a family and work like a team. I have no idea why. I know some of it was definitely me. I couldn’t get out of my own way. And I know some of it was because I had some students with some significant needs, and those needs weren’t being met, and so that would spill over into our classroom and create chaos.
I don’t know. I really don’t. This particular classroom dynamic just took longer. Shoulder shrug.
So it was challenging.
But we did it.
The hard part is that we finally did it and then we only had a month left together. That’s the hard part. LIKE WHY? HELLO?! NOW WE ARE A FAMILY AND NOW WE ARE BREAKING UP. WHY?!
Once again, I’m going to say that the kids had no idea that I was on the struggle bus.
And my room parent (she is amazing and I love her to pieces) always complimented my kids. She would say how sweet and thankful they were at each of our class parties. AND THEY WERE!
Then it was the last few days. And we could feel it. Time was running out. And one kid might say this is the last time we’re going to have Sharing or another one might say this is the last Junie B book you’re going to read or can we do the Birthday song one more time just for fun?
And then it ended.
It is always bittersweet. One of the best things about being a teacher is that we get to start over every single year. But one of the hardest things about being a teacher is that we have to start over every single year.
I always tell my kids that I’m the saddest on the first day of the next school year. When I have these kinder babies who are not used to the full day schedule, who don’t understand how I work, who are new to the lunch benches, the big playground, the supervisors, etc . . . and then I’ll see my old kids as big second graders just walking around campus knowing what to do like it’s no big deal. And I’ll think COME BACK, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THAT LINE OVER THERE WITH THAT SECOND GRADE TEACHER?! YOU’RE MINE! COME BACK! PLEASE! And I’ll wonder who all these little stranger kinder babies are in my line and I’ll want to cry.
Happens every year.
My kids laughed and laughed when I said Stranger Kinder Babies, but it’s true.
And then someone said so you thought I was a stranger kinder baby?
And I nodded.
And then, around the lump in my throat, I said but now you’re mine.
I also always tell my kids that, too.
Once you’re one of my kids, you’re always one of my kids.
I’ll usually start the phrase, and they’ll finish it.
There you go.
And now here I go . . . before I get too sentimental and start to cry.