Friday, June 26, 2015

A Bitter Sweet Day

Today was the last day of school…. I was filled with mixed emotions. Usually at the end of the year I'm sad to say goodbye to my students. This year I knew it wasn't goodbye, but rather a "See you in September!" A very strange feeling. I told some of my parents I would be looping with their kids and they seemed excited and grateful.

I think it's hard not only to be switching grades but to know someone else is going to be in "my room." Someone who may or may not care about the room like I did. I did my best to keep everything in order, keep things clean and neat and like new… I can't say that someone else will take the same pride in the stuff that's in that room like I did and that makes me sad.

My kiddos only had a half day so I spent the rest of the day doing some last minute cleaning. I swept the floor, wiped down the tables, and made sure the last of my stuff was in the closets of my new room. I assessed the damage checked out what was awaiting me in my new room and took some pictures to help prepare for the upcoming year.

I think I'm still in shock that after all these years I'll no longer be teaching Kindergarten. Even our Math coach was a bit surprised. She felt bad because I spent the last two months putting together as many Math centers and activities for our program as I could. Now I get to start all over again!

It really hit me today when I turned around one last time at the door of my classroom and turned off the lights (I waited for the sad music to start playing like in the movies… it didn't but it should have!)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's All Changing - Again

Kindergarten, my passion, my love, where my heart is… for 8 years I have taught kindergarten. I have been in two different schools. I have taught 2 different ELA programs, 2 different phonics programs and 3 different math programs. I have felt empowered. I continue to learn each year trying to make myself better. I have done research. I have read books. I have scoured the internet and blogland for information, activities and programs to try with my students. I have worked hard to establish myself as a well respected kindergarten teacher who others can come to for advice. And now… now it will all change….

When we return to school in September I will not be in my classroom that I have called home for two years. I will not be with my kindergarten team whom I have come to love. I will not be holding the hands of little ones who have never been to school before and showing them the way. I will not be hugging parents promising that their child's first year of school will be enjoyable and that they will learn new things and grow. All that I know will not be anymore in September.

I'm no stranger to change. At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 school year I packed my things one last time and said goodbye to the school I called home for 6 years. I needed a change, it was no longer the right place for me. I could not grow, or shine there any longer. Where I landed surprised me from an affluent successful school to a lower income title one failing school… and yet I shine. I love going to work. I have the freedom to try new things and even if they fail I am given permission to try again. It's ok to try and fail as long as I learn and move forward. It is exhilarating knowing that as long as I can show logic and reason and prove how something may benefit my students I can try anything I want (within reason of course!) From this I know change can be good. Change can be exhilarating. Change can be challenging. Change can be rewarding. Change can be scary. Change can be good!

Keeping this mantra in my mind and heart I have spent the past week packing my classroom. Putting 8 years of Kindergarten materials in boxes. I watch as someone else comes in my room daily and moves her stuff in, my heart sad as I know she will have my job in September. She will be the first teacher some of the incoming students will have. She will set the tone for their learning. I will not be going far but I will not be the one preparing students for the roller coaster of school.

Next year I will be looping to first grade. I will be with my students again, and a few new ones. I am scared. I am excited. I am terrified. I am looking forward to new challenges and a new adventure. I am sad that I will not be in kindergarten any longer (or at least for the upcoming year…). I am overwhelmed. I am mad that all the time I've put in to organizing and making the curriculum work for me, all the binder I've made and the focus walls I've typed are now going to sit in storage not being used. I am frustrated that I have to redo all that work. I have to type everything again for a new grade. I am excited because I can continue to grow and learn as an educator. I am looking forward to new challenges. I am hopeful. I am on an emotional roller coaster. Some of my fellow kindergarten teachers are looping with me, which brings me great comfort. I am looking forward to working with them again. I am sad to leave behind my other colleagues. We may have had our differences but we balanced each other out. We respected each others opinions. We yelled at each other like siblings do. We hugged each other on rough days and laughed together. We shared our families. We shard our lives. While I'm only going upstairs I know that the two colleagues I will be leaving behind won't be in my room daily to share the small moments any longer. I know when teachers change grades somehow bonds that seem so strong aren't as strong any longer.

The year hasn't ended and yet my mind is already focused on the fall. Since I am looping I know that I won't need to spend a lot of time going over the basics. My students know me - good or bad we know each other. Some of us work well together, others, well, we are working on it. I've got my classroom management down and won't need to spend hours upon hours teaching and reviewing my expectations. I will continue my guided reading and centers. I will need to find new ways to rotate and new ways to implement my centers as the room I'm moving in to is much smaller with individual desks not shared tables. I had planned to revamp my guided reading next year - I was looking to read more about the Daily 5 and begin to implement the program. I will continue with this plan… but now instead of learning and implementing one new program I will also have to learn an entire new Math, ELA, Phonics, Science and Social Studies curriculum. I have started to plan. I have started to recreate the focus walls I so painstakingly spent hours making for kindergarten. I will spend my summer getting ready for the fall. I will spread it out over two months so hopefully when the fall comes I will not be too overwhelmed.