|First Day of School, 2016|
I have so much love for my students, my kids, my school family. We had our ups and downs this year, but not nearly as many downs than ups! I spent a good majority of each day wondering aloud how I was given such an awesome, self-sufficient, hard-working class. And they were kind too! It's like I won the classroom lottery!
One student donated all of his savings to help buy presents for other students. One student FILLED the donation box!
By April, my students could run the classroom without me (allowing me to walk around a give 1:1 attention as needed!). I could interject with amusing stories (well, amusing to me) and reinforce the ideas they were learning. My favorite part about teaching lessons, is when it all clicks and you get an A-HA! moment from one of the kids (or sometimes the adults.)
I laughed so hard everyday at the things these guys would say and do. Some of them had no idea what it felt like to be safe in a classroom where no one would judge them, no one would scold them, no one would punish them for things they couldn't control. (Don't worry, they still had consequences for all those problematic middle school behavior choices!)
|What's this? Just a fossilized PB&J we found behind the filing box.|
One student walked up and said, "Oh, that's where that went."
When the selective mute becomes the class clown, you know you're doing something right.
When you are able to look at a kid's face as he's angrily spitting hateful words at you, and look past it to not only understand him, but love him more, you know you're doing something that matters.
When the the 6th grader who was in the principal's office everyday, is creating speeches and extra lessons in her FREE TIME as an 8th grader, you know you've found a good home.
To the ones who are moving up to high school: I wish you the best. I hope we have taught you the skills you need to be a successful human being. I hope you always feel supported and know you've got a bunch of crazy ladies cheering you on.
To the ones coming back to us next year: We got a glimpse of how incredible you really are. I am so proud of the progress we've made and I know you're going to continue to amaze me next year.
And most importantly, to the ones who we haven't met yet; the ones that are struggling, the ones that are angry, the ones that feel unwanted and out of place: We are here for you. We will open our classrooms, and our hearts, to you with welcome arms. You're already loved, even if you don't know it yet.