Today we had 3 Bounce Houses set up in our gym for students who made their accelerated growth on the MAP test this year. I went down with the 4th graders first thing this morning and it was SUPER fun! I wish I could show pictures of the kids and how much fun they were having but due to privacy (and the way the pictures are taken), I can't. All of the hard times this year made up for it being able to see their pure and utter joy at bouncing in those houses. The only bummer was that I couldn't join them since I didn't want to aggravate my shoulder/neck (which is SO messed up) after the accident. Oh well, I lived vicariously through them :)
Also today, at lunch, we were heading upstairs and one of my colleagues was bringing kiddos with her. I'm not sure if it was a lunch bunch or whatever but there were several and she was waiting on a couple other kids, so I took the first batch up with me. I realized once we were in the elevator that all of them used to be in my 2nd grade class 3 years ago. Too funny! And one of the girls was also in my class last year so I had mentioned that. The other girl in the group said, "I only had you just once" and I said "that was probably enough, huh?" (Because I am tough on kids -- I will love on you like no tomorrow but I will also ride on you to be the best you can be and not all kids like that.) When we got out of the elevator, she says, "Oh no, you were the best, most fabulous 2nd grade teacher ever" Awwww ♥
Finally we are on our real countdown. 12 days left....4 of those are half days! I am SO ready for summer. Although, in keeping with the positivity of this post, I think that many of my kids are FINALLY starting to get the hang of it...it only took us all year LOL This has been a rough year just because of the transitions (in all, including kids I got in October when we dissolved the other 4th grade, I had a total of fourteen new students since the first day of school, that is IN-SANE). There was a time that I got a new student once a week for five weeks straight. Once the dust finally settled (and thank goodness it did finally settle), we did okay. I just feel like it could have been better had we not had all of the transitions...alas, it is what it is and I did the best I could. It's interesting to hear the kids sometimes because I think they really are finally getting it. I don't expect kids to appreciate everything I say and do...but one friend from another class (a former of mine who didn't get to go on a field trip) and I were chatting today and I said "well remember when you thought *I* was tough on you...and now the expectations are even higher and they will continue to be. You appreciate me much more now, huh?"
I know that in the end, as much as I am ready to put this weird as heck year to bed, I will be able to look back on this group of kids and know that I had some positive impacts on them. That's really all I can hope for. In moving forward, I want to continue to be reflective, think about where I can grow and just do the best I can for kids...because ultimately, it isn't about me. It's about them. I WAS them (went to the same school as a kid) so I totally know where they are in their lives...because I used to be there. I want them to pull out of poverty too and be something when they grow up. But I have to push and push to help them make that a reality. It's why that praise, even coming a couple years late, from the kids, when I hear them say that I did something well for them, makes all of the tough stuff worth it in the end. It's why I do what I do.