Saturday, May 25, 2013

On Saying Goodbye

Last night, my school said a joyful, tearful, hopeful, beautiful goodbye to the Class of 2013. Despite the persistent threat of rain all week, the one two three trains that interrupted the ceremony, and the crazy wind, it turned out to be a lovely (albeit cold) evening.  

Some of my favorite pictures from the night:

Graduation ceremonies have always made me a bit sad.  I know, I know-- they're supposed to be exciting; they're celebrations.  I understand that.  I do.  But they're also goodbyes, and I've never liked saying goodbye.  I sobbed at my own high school graduation, and I was dry-eyed but broken-hearted when I graduated from college.  

I have been weepy all week, because this graduating class is the first class I ever taught.  Four years ago, they were round-faced, short, giggly little things.  They were children.  Today, they're adults.  It's amazing how quickly that can happen.  Their senior slide show, complete with an awesome drama PSA on "Senioritis," made me laugh and cry, often simultaneously.  (Seriously, watch that PSA-- hilarious!) I'm so proud of them, but I'm also more than a little sad to see them go.  As teachers, we attach ourselves to "our kids" in so many ways-- we laugh with them, celebrate their victories, support them, feed them, hurt with them in the bad times.  It's a proud moment, seeing them in caps and gowns, but it also tugs at the heart.  

There are lots of complaints in the world of education that we aren't paid enough, respected enough, trusted enough, etc. etc.  And those are valid issues that need addressing.  But I can tell you one way we do have enough-- we have a job that will never cease to be fulfilling.  We're molding lives here, people.

I did, as expected, shed a few tears last night.  But I really did cry proud, happy, thrilled tears.   

Now to gain lots of new Facebook friends! ;)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meet M

I'm M.  I'm a wife and step-mom to two fantastic guys.  I'm also a small town teacher and lover of all things languages and literature.  Life is good in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia where I make my home, and I have to say that my classroom is one of my favorite places to be (most of the time).

I'm proud to call myself a Spanglish teacher.  Currently, I'm wrapping up my fourth year in this business and teaching English 9, Advanced English 9, and Spanish III.  I work with some of the coolest kids on the planet, and could not ask for a better place to work.

I suppose you could say I'm here because I need to write.  I preach to my students that writing is so important, but I'm ashamed to say I sometimes forget to hold myself to the same standard.  There are words in all of us, and mine just want out at this stage in my career.

Part of this stems from the National Board Certification process, which I am working toward now.  I'm putting the finishing touches on my portfolio this week-- more to come on that.  Honestly, it has been so much work.  But it's also forced me to become more reflective about my work.  And honestly?  Even though, for the first time in my life, I have my doubts about whether or not I can pass something-- it has made me a better educator.  For that, I'm grateful.  And I'm grateful that it's over so I can get my life back.  

I am also inspired to write because of all the "teacher-blogs" I read daily and adore-- namely Love, Teach (hilarious!) and E, Myself, & I (written by +Elizabeth Chapman, who is a fabulous teacher-mom and so very, very gracious and real).  

I have to say, though, that the primary reasons I'm writing this now are 112 teenagers.  As I say goodbye in a few days to the senior class of 2013 (who were once my first group of freshmen), I am reflecting on my practices. Quite frankly, I have a desire to show my students that I mean what I say.  Writing is important; I do have something meaningful to share with the world.

Thus begins M*Print-- my look at life from a classroom overlooking the football stadium: where I laugh, cry, laugh-cry, teach my pants off, and occasionally wonder what I'm even doing here.  Welcome!  I'm looking forward to sharing my classroom journey with you.

Comments are welcome-- but, as Ellen says,"Be kind to one another."