School is out for the summer. Scores for the state End of Course (EOC) exams are in, and my grades are finalized and posted. I have turned in tutoring logs, professional development hours and inventory. My room has been straightened and labeled and locked.
It has been a year.
When I checked out today, my principle told me that she was very glad I had stayed, had come back a second year. It was a small thing to have said, but it meant a great deal to me.
The first year was rough, now that I look back on it. Staying until midnight wasn't uncommon. Staying until 3 a.m. happened more than once. It was the first year of our state's EOC exams. I had to prep for 5 different classes a day (7 different classes for the year, all told), I had 50 extra hours of eMINTS training to complete, and I was sponsoring or helping to sponsor 3 different extracurricular groups plus the freshman class. Being hired two weeks before school began (with only that much warning) and being totally unfamiliar with the curricular materials was another factor, although this one was "helped" since I was also assigned to be on the team to write our school's curriculum right away, as well. One of my fellow communication arts teachers (who is one of my own former teachers) told me last year, "I don't know how you're doing it; anybody else would have quit at semester."
I had forgotten all this, much in the same way that the details of childbirth are often smudged in a mother's mind, I suspect. So when my principle told me today that she was glad I had come back, I stared at her blankly for a moment. Why in the world wouldn't I have come back, I wondered.
Human beings are remarkable. We often have no idea of what we can accomplish until we have done more than we ever imagined we could. I despise being pushed--more than I could possibly convey to you without physical violence and perhaps regurgitation. In fact, I will NOT be pushed by anyone...but myself.
This summer I hope to write a lot of lesson plans down and create some new ones. This last year I had 80 students, all told. Next year I will have a little over 100. Next year I will push hard again, but for now I'm going to sit for a bit and reflect on the two years behind me.