Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
As usual, I disappeared after the start of this school year because work just got too crazy for me to keep up with a blog.
Among the many things at school that kept me busy, there was this:
And on top of all that there were field trips and small remediation groups and benchmarks and PD sessions….
Now that I’m back, I have another piece of news, which is that I am changing from fifth to eighth grade.
I know lots of teachers change grades quite often, but this is a really big deal for me because I have been teaching fifth grade for seven of the nine years I’ve been teaching. When you’re my age, seven years is almost a quarter of your life. It is also the grade where I really found myself as a teacher. It is where I first got results I could be proud of. It is where I proved those results were sustainable. It is where I first taught centers. It is where I rocked my sweet Fraction Girl costume. It is where for the first and only time I cried in front of a class. It is where I met the mayor. It is where I once had blood, puke, pee and snot coming out of different children’s bodies all at the same time.
Switching grades also feels like a big deal because I have been the only fifth grade math teacher since my school was opened. This has been great in terms of continuity from one year to the next. But sometimes I worry that I’ve sent the wrong message by staying put. I want teachers to see that it is possible to make changes in your career without leaving the classroom. Change is healthy.
But I’m not writing to explain why I made my decision. I’m writing because it’s important to say that sometimes even when a decision is good, it is painful. On top of being completely terrified that I will fail, I will also miss my beautiful, earnest, well-meaning, troublesome fifth graders. There are times when they are so incredibly lovely that it actually hurts. Fifth graders give Valentine’s Day cards that say, “Hugs and kisses.” Fifth graders call their teachers to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day. Fifth graders think I’m hilarious.
Every year, I read my students Dr. Suess’s Oh the Places You’ll Go. I’ve always felt like I’m reading it as much for myself as I am for them. This year is no exception.
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