Losing and Winning...

Here I am...a mere 12 (student) days away from the end of my twenty-second year of teaching. I find it hard to believe that a) I am old enough to have actually have been teaching for 22 years, and b) I am getting ready to pack my room (yet again) and move.

Maybe I have a seven year itch. I have taught in this district for fourteen of my twenty-two years, seven at one school, seven at another. I'd like to think that I am constantly learning, and, although this year has been difficult, I have been inspired to truly find my inspiration.

That may sound strange, that I'm inspired to find what inspires me, but what I have learned over the last few years, is that I have been stuck. One of my best girlfriends keeps reminding me that "We work for the kids..." I want to reach down and feel that again. Having kids that I have taught before tell me that they've heard I am coming, that "this will be the best year ever with you there," "It can be like old times...lunch together, after school together." These words give my heart flight, they remind me why I do what I do. I am not there for others, I don't care about the haters...I am there for the kids. That is why I went into this field. It is the reason that I teach math, it is about helping kids see themselves differently, see themselves as powerful learners!

I realized tonight that I have been making this about losing and winning, when I really have to remind myself that because I will be with the kids, I will always be winning!! This is about them, not me. I am an adult...I can visit my friends (even though we will all be busy), I can send notes, send gifts, send whatever...I can make a list of who to contact when, make a calendar...whatever I need to do to stay in contact with those I care about and then move forward, remembering who I am there for. I need to tell my students that this isn't about winning or losing, it's about them...setting and meeting their goals!

I am passionate about my students. I want to build rafts of otter-students, holding on to one another as they feel the waves of high school throwing them into the rocks. This is about finding strength in each other and finding strength within themselves. This is about doing the hard work and being proud, looking and saying "this is the best I could do..."

I think I am ready...well, almost. I am almost there...realizing that change comes for a reason. I moved to my school so I could feel the love of others, I could work with a team, I could build a community...now I am taking that skill and showing students how to do the same thing...push themselves harder and farther than they ever thought they could...not make life about winning and losing...make it about getting closer to their goals.

I'm almost ready...12 more days...

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