Sunday, March 09, 2008
updates on the sunshines
So I just read through last year's posts (meaning last school year-- I really think in school year terms) and have a few updates on life in my classroom.
I lost both my ed techs and gained one new one, a former teacher and administrator looking for a change. The shift in staff was monumental! I think the sunshines needed that last visual reminder that the old way was finished and I have a completely different view of how our classroom should run. We laugh a lot this year. A lot. Yes, they whine and moan about work and still hate school, but I don't think they hate being in my room. A subtle difference, but a big one. There is a sense of community this year that just feels good.
I think we've also had some real learning happen this year. It's still not in the higher levels of Bloom's as often as I'd like, but we're making progress. Credits are being earned, for real. They can all talk intelligently about To Kill a Mockingbird. That is no small task, my friends. The "tree hole" on my desk is filled with candy, which they can partake of whenever they want. I've been dubbed with a nickname. We're really having a good year.
Three of my seven seniors from 06-07 graduated on time with their class. 3 others returned to finish up during this year. (The last one dropped out the day before school started last year. No GED yet, but I keep harassing, because I can.) Of the three returning as 5th year seniors, two graduated in January. Now that was a good day. Turns our they really do like me calling them 'sunshine', and taking them into my circle of people I care about. One of them got me flowers, and sincerely thanked me for my help. He came back to visit this week, and took my gentle yelling about getting-a-job-and-getting-off-the-couch with a shy smile, promising to look for a job this spring.
I also have two students this year becoming parents themselves. While it makes me sad to see their childhoods end so abruptly, I am proud of the way they are "stepping up" and being as responsible as needy teens can be. My goal is to watch their kids graduate without ever needing to be in my room, and they know it. I think it's their goal too, and I think they know I will always be here if they need help reaching it.
Once a student enters my program, he or she enters my world. I have the ability to ask questions and have conversations you can't have in a regular class. It's why I teach Alt Ed-- I like the line between academic and emotional learning being blurred. I like watching them grow up,and having some influence on what that looks like. I love being invited to their bridal and baby showers, having them come back and visit me, and still being able to give them grief about less than smart choices they are making. They know about my life and I know about theirs. I hope I always do.