This year I have become a better teacher. It is because of you, my class. I would not be able to do half of the activities we do during the day if it wasn't for you. Each week I get excited and ask you to try new things and you go with the flow. I get excited about watching you embrace the challenges and changes to what school looks like. You are truly taking the motto "Try Everything" to heart.
This last week alone, you did two #MysterySkypes (one for which you were willing to take a late recess for), you helped young 5 year olds code and learn to use tech in school (Showing them computers are not just for playing games. Some of you even helped them practice their counting skills, which can be boring to someone in fourth or fifth grade!), and we were the "guinea pig" class for the new 360 Math Lab. When I asked you if you wanted to Skype with an author next week, even though it would once again affect recess time, you almost unanimously voted to do it.
The new 360 Math lab was what made my heart swell the most. This was something completely new to all of us. Not only did you do a problem solving activity that we had never discussed or previewed, but you did it with gusto. You embraced working as pairs and then as whole groups of students to figure out what you were doing right or what needed changing. You took a risk. Some of you "failed" at the challenge, but you never gave up. You were even willing to go back in the next day, knowing that it might be "hard" to figure out.
I do not tell you how often we get compliments from outside our classroom. You are great collaborators who work with others regularly. You bring creativity to what you do, often not wanting to do the same thing more than once or twice. I know you get frustrated when I limit what you can do, but you see that you are better for it when you are finished. Many of you bring ideas to the class to share, not because you want to be the expert, but because you want your friends to try something new.
I have had the honor to know many of you for more than a year. The growth in both academics and risk taking leaves me in awe. For those of you who have been with me for a shorter period I am even more impressed. You were put in a class that was anything but typical. You did so with little complaint and even some excitement. I can only hope that all of you continue on this path after you have left my classroom.
You are not a perfect class nor are any of you perfect yourselves. Nor would I want you to be. I am not perfect. Perfect is boring and can lead to stress you don’t need. You have taught me to take risks and that “failure” can lead to better, not make things worse.
A teacher becomes better when they are more than “I’m just doing my job” I am better because YOU deserve more than that. Thank you for making me better.
Note: I knew I was going to write this blog, just debated if I should do it now or wait until the end of the year. Cori Orlando's blog about change helped me to decide that now was the right time.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching