Year 6 was hard, harder than any other year. This year I taught 3 different preps, all in chemistry but different levels. My Chemistry 2 students pushed me to be a better teacher. They were always curious, always interested, and always wanted to understand why, and that was wonderful! This was my first year to teach CP Chemistry (college prep) and the pace was very different; fast. The students learned what I asked of them but I wasn’t very happy with what I was asking. There just wasn’t enough time to do what I would’ve liked to do with that class. And lastly my Chemistry 1 students; these kiddos pushed me to build better teacher-student relationships. I’ve never met a group quite like them. Labs required too much work. Lectures required too much writing. Task cards took too much time. Assignments had too many questions. You mean we have to look it up in our notes?! Watched ‘The Bomb’ documentary to extend nuclear chemistry concepts and I get, “Why should we care? It’s just a bunch of old people talking about something that happened forever ago.” My response? *@?!#@%* Needless to say, it was frustrating. Most days I managed behaviors rather than teach. Parent contact helped sometimes, but you can only contact parents and administrators for the same behaviors so many times before you just give up. Then I would get frustrated with giving up, and I’d try again. It was exhausting, and there were tears (by both me and the students). We openly acknowledged their dislike for chemistry but tried pushing them anyways. I know all parties involved were happy summer finally came. lol
Despite the crazy, I love, love, love that group of students. Every single one of them. From the students that would never sit in their seat, to the students who never stopped talking. I learned what they loved, where and how often they worked, after school activities, made deals for retweets, became more creative with assignments, and so much more. I was very aware of the hardships in their lives, and would attempt to work with them to find solutions on how to keep up with their class work. I saw how much they cared for each other, and the support they’d give each other. It was beautiful to watch and be a part of. It was a great reminder that the students in my room are so much more than bad chemistry students. They are smart, caring young men and women, and will do and accomplish many amazing things, it just won’t be in chemistry. lol I will miss them, and hope that maybe one day they won’t hate chemistry (even if that is wishful thinking lol).
There were many wonderful moments this year that outweighed all the stresses. Students excelled in areas they thought were impossible. One student worked very hard with her short answer explanations, and wrote the most beautiful answers on her final. Others simply kept trying, and pushed through their struggles. I am so proud of each and everyone of their accomplishments this year, both big and small.
Lastly, big shout out to my science Tiger Family. This is the most amazing group of teachers I have ever had the privilege of working with! They work so hard for their students, before school, during lunch, after school, and weekends. You will always find at least 2 science teachers in the building working on the weekends. It’s sad that teaching is not appreciated in this state because I know so many that go above and beyond what’s required. Without teachers giving these extra hours there is no way students would ever get labs, graded assignments, or work beyond simple worksheets. Collaboration within this department is a way of life. Our district is getting rid of the share drive this summer and we all nearly had a heart attack. We use common assignments, and assessments, and that server is our life line for sharing our work. We can edit a file, and everyone will immediately have the updated version. Yes google docs allows for this but it doesn’t allow for an easy transfer of our entire curriculum to it and what happens if someone leaves the district and they were the one to upload everything? We don’t have answers for this and it has us worried.
Summer is here and I am so very grateful for the time to recharge before beginning a new year. My summer plans consist of many different professional developments, presenting 2 topics at the State Conference for OSTA/OCTM, going to DC for the National Conference of the NEA, and spending much needed time with my daughter and husband. I love, love teaching and am looking forward to next year after some rest. 🙂
A Tired Teacher