I’ve been out of school for a couple of weeks now and am currently immersed in teaching summer school. I’ve had a few nice relaxing weeks away before coming back for summer school, and I feel pretty refreshed. I took a break from all school related matters including this blog because I think that break is important. But now that I’ve had that break I want to take a moment to reflect a bit on this past school year.
I’m not going to lie-this was a rough year. I walked into the school year with a goal of remaining positive and optimistic, but that proved difficult for me. I came into the year fresh off of a couple of difficult rejections for jobs that I thought I had a really good chance at. The reality was that I was demoralized to start the year, and as the year progressed I faced more rejection over and over again as I went to interviews, got close to getting the job, only to be told they chose the other guy.
This is of course on top of the regular day to day stress of teaching, which seemed heavier to me this year. I tried new approaches and didn’t see the results I was hoping for. I felt I was constantly at odds with my supervisors. I felt I was spinning my wheels for much of the year with little to show for it.
Needless to say, I needed a win. The end of the school year gave that to me, and I walked away feeling good. Still needing a break, but feeling good.
I got that win in the form of T-shirts. Let me explain. I have a reputation as a demanding teacher. I assign quite a bit of work, and have high expectations as to what earns an A. Naturally this stresses out some of my students. As one of my senior classes was taking their final, as the end of the period approached, they all stood up, took off their jackets/sweatshirts and revealed the same T-shirt:
That absolutely made my day! The fact that the entire class would come together to make matching T-shirts is incredible.
Even better is that the following week on the last day of class for my juniors, in one class, when the bell rang none of my students were there. Then they came parading in all wearing a shirt that they had designed. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but it was a big picture of my face (yikes!) and it read “Stress. Free. Zone.” underneath as the ongoing joke in the class is that my class is a “stress free zone.” It is impossible for me to do it justice in such few words.
Two separate classes came together to commemorate our class through T-shirts for the whole class. I needed a win this year, and I got it right at the end.