Friday, June 6, 2014

Year 4: Week 37 – And In The End

Year 4 is over.

Every year is different, every year is unique and this year was in many ways more different than any other year I’ve had at this school. Year 1 felt like a rush of energy and drama, but there was a sense of accomplishment at the end, a sense of arrival. Year 2, was where I felt like I hit my stride and Year 3, well that was the year where real life came crashing into the walls of my school life. My grandmother died in September so I missed school in the beginning of the year. The rest of the year was over-shadowed by Diana’s pregnancy and then when Ollie came in May, my school year was over.

Like the cliffhanger at the end of a television season, the beginning of this year dealt with the situations that the previous school year set-up. I took paternity leave, spaced out on Mondays and in some longer chunks of time. I had to more carefully balance my time at work with my time and school. Because I was in such of a groove as a teacher I was able to dedicate my time and energy into other projects and being department chair.

Right now, I'm in the middle of finishing up grades.  I don’t feel like I’m still running the race. I have the longest list of things to do over the summer than I’ve ever had to do before. I’m doing a music camp at school next week, which has left me no respite. Instead of feeling like the end of the school year, it feels like another part of the year is beginning.

Last summer, I told myself that I would devote myself to Ollie and that I wouldn’t think about school until August. I probably will not be able to do that this summer but I think I will be able to find some time and space away from work. Though my mind will probably not be able to turn off thinking about school like I did last summer.

I’m proud of all that I did this school year and there were a lot of accomplishments. I had many great interactions with students, some truly amazing performances I put together and some lessons that really worked for my students. There were also many things that I felt I had to not give as much attention to as I would have liked. And there was more time away from my students mostly related to the process of hiring a new teacher in my department.

The balance between being critical of ourselves as professionals and allowing ourselves time to enjoy our accomplishments is difficult. Right now, with the looming deadline of grades and comments, it’s hard to allow myself to enjoy this time as much as I would like.

While my mind swirls around with the stress of deadlines, summer plans and critical self-reflection, there’s one other feeling that shines through this storm storm: I’m really going to miss my students this summer. As much as I am looking forward to this summer and having time away, I know that I’m going to really love coming back in the fall and being with my kids.

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