I just counted on my fingers and realized I’ve been teaching my grade 8 class for seven months now. In some ways it’s felt like years, and yet I find myself wondering how the heck we got to mid-May already? Before I wrote this post I went back and read through some of my more rant-like reflections over the past seven months (HERE and HERE and HERE for examples). Those posts are just a few of my mind-boggling, question-asking, self-doubting pieces of writing I’ve done this school year; reading through them has helped me see how truly good it is now.
Why are things so good now? For the past few weeks it’s felt like my students have just been chugging along the train tracks of positivity. Bits and pieces are falling into place, students are doing their homework (!), everyone is being relatively nice to one another and we are having quite the amount of, dare I say, FUN at school. It feels, as J.Lo sings, like we can do anything (live it up, live it up!) Today my principal even mentioned that it has been several weeks since he has had to speak with some of my classroom’s key players, which is a huge success!
I’m fairly certain part of my class’ positive energy is coming from me. I don’t mean this in a snobby kind of way. I mean this in that I am way more relaxed about school things than I have been in months. Extensions on projects they’re working diligently on? Sure! An extra round of “silent ball” at the end of the day? Why not!? I seem to be in very high spirits these days and I am noticing that my choice of mood is directly affecting my class’ behaviours and their ability to get successful work done. It’s a neat, totally unplanned sort of experiment and I like how it’s going so far.
To top off all the greatness, this week I checked off a teaching related bucket list item and co-taught all day long with my long-time friend, Nicole. Nicole graduated from her post-degree program this past December and is currently teaching an adorable group of grade 6 students from Colombia. On Tuesday, Nicole’s students and my students spent the entire day together. We experienced a Colombian dance performance, 4-corner presentations about Colombia’s culture and participated in a very fun scavenger hunt downtown surrounding the legislature (government buildings) and The Empress (famous, old hotel). I had two parent volunteers join us for the afternoon, one of which also helped out on a field trip in the fall. The crowning moment was when this parent and I looked around at the end of the day and I said, “Well, that was a great day!” She replied, “These kids have come so far…there is no way you could have done this with them in in the fall or winter”. This mom was correct in her observations and I did an inward celebratory fist pump because I have worked so damn hard with and for these students to get them to where they are now. I realize I’m not the only person who has helped my students along the way this year, because goodness knows they have many champions rooting for them! But, I do like to think that my yearlong “building classroom community” mission is finally starting to pay off in a large way. I wonder if this is all just a scheme to make me love them even more right before they head off to high school, which will undoubtedly leave me in a puddle of tears on the last day of school. You sneaky students.