The school year began slowly, with difficulty. Balancing too many responsibilities, feeling my brain overflow with thoughts, struggling with troublesome students, questioning my abilities as an educator, I wondered whether the year would ever move past the snail’s pace it seemed to be stuck in.
Then, suddenly, Thanksgiving break was mere days away.
And the school year seems to be a speeding train flashing before my eyes.
Because after Thanksgiving there’s Christmas and ISTEP round 1 and spring break and ISTEP round 2 and then it’s May and we’re done.
The students are growing, I think. With some, it seems two steps forward and one step back. Writing is improving slightly. Grammar is a struggle. Some who should know better, don’t. Others surprise me with their maturity. It’s so fun to see certain kids move beyond silliness and self-centeredness into deeper thought and wider understanding of the world. In the last week, I witnessed — not once, but twice — someone attempting to explain to friends that life is bigger than their petty grudges and complaints.
Seventh graders stumble toward eighth grade with fits and starts and bumps and hiccups.
Eighth graders glide toward high school, learning about themselves and others and their surroundings, some more gracefully than others, but all becoming a little more grounded, a little more aware.
It is an amazing thing to witness. And I get to see it year after year. Regardless of whether the year crawls or flies, the students grow and change, and I get to be a part of that.