29 May 2008

Year 2 Retrospective

Today was the last full day of classes. Underclass exams start tomorrow morning; Graduation is tomorrow afternoon. My original plan when I started this gig was to teach for 3 years. Which would mean I'm 2/3 of the way through my career as a teacher. It was a year of incredible professional growth for me, teaching a new subject (Government) to a new grade level (FRESHMEN), being asked to serve on numerous committees, planning and running a camp for rising freshmen this summer, working on a $2.04M grant, sponsoring a club (Youth in Government), and agreeing to sponsor the Senior Class next year. And all of that on paper is great, but what did I learn? Rather than specifics (we know how good I am at keeping a journal/blog), here's a general idea...

- I still have a hard time not laughing when I'm not supposed to
- The classes that drive me the craziest are the ones I secretly like the best (3rd and 8th this year)
- I have a total soft spot for kids who screw up and try to redeem themselves
- The unplanned moments are the best
- Teachers don't get paid enough, even if we do get our summers off
- A 10-minute game of "Heads Up 7 Up" is enough to bribe good behavior out of kids for a week
- I'm still scared of calling parents
- The College Board is a total scam (I'll dedicate an entire post to this in a year when I have tenure. In the meantime, I'll keep my comments off my public blog - but I'm happy to talk about it in person)
- I don't ever want to teach AP (see previous bullet)
- You're always a teacher whether it's 9am Monday morning or 11pm Friday night
- I love teaching freshmen
- I still have a hard time saying no. But...
- Being asked to participate in grants and serve on committees is incredible gratifying and humbling (I'll probably revisit this comment in a few years when I'm burned out from all of it)
- Not everyone is cut out for this job
- A job that doesn't make you cry every once in awhile isn't worth having
- Teaching 6 classes a day is infinitely harder than teaching 5
- If my county was in the Northeast, we would have gone on strike this year
- Having friends to eat lunch with makes all the difference
- It's really hard to not take things personally
- SMARTboards are so cool
- I think Ben Franklin's quote should be modified to read "Coffee is proof that God loves teachers"
- I'll take a thoughtful gift (like a pen that plays quotes from the Office!) and a heartfelt note from a student over a $50 gift certificate any day
- Friday afternoon "faculty meetings" are essential
- I think I'm going to be doing this a lot longer than 3 years...