Dear End of the Year Teacher Self,
There are some things I need you to know. They're good kids and you're a great teacher.
13 is usually unlucky and dreaded, but count yourself lucky because you're done with your 13th year of teaching. I'm sure you are worn out and your view of everything may be shaded by the trials any years throws at you, but know you started this year with so much enthusiasm and optimism. You have no doubt made a difference.
I know because even this early in the school year your students come to class with so much excitement, and they even laugh at your jokes. They see that you are special and you notice the same about them.
They are probably now bouncing off the walls appearing more like apathetic freshmen than innocent 8th graders, but they were once bright-eyed, eager kids ready to laugh and learn.
I hope you take time to see those kids, not through the lens of a perhaps long year, but as you greeted them with a smile and puzzle piece on the first day of class. They believed in their part of the puzzle. They readily hitched themselves to you and held on tight for this year's long ride.
Undoubtedly, some of your co-workers have pushed every button and created some new buttons and double pushed those, but remember back to August when everyone was fresh and everyone wanted the same thing--what was best for students. Life happens to the best of us. They have probably had the same ups and downs that you've experienced. See them with fresh eyes. Embrace the brilliance you saw in them in September. Remember the lessons of theirs you've used and the time it saved and how it impacted your students.
You may be tired as you pace to the finish line. Your oldest is surely driving you crazy about going off into the big, bad world on her own upon college graduation. Your once snugly son has a deeper voice and enough body odor that even if he came close, you'd likely push him away. The middle child has assuredly caused more grey hair than you could ever count, and you're scared she's not ready for the responsibilities of junior year and taking the ACT/SAT. Heaven help you! Stop worrying. They have and will survive and thrive. They, too, are good kids who always make you proud.
Be proud of all the good you've seen and done this year. Teaching ain't easy, my dear, but it's so worth it. Finish strong!
Keisha in August
Documenting my evolution by filling in space and matter one word at a time.