So, I’ve been thinking about what I do and do not miss about being in the classroom.
I have been asked this question a lot lately. I always feel like people want and somehow need to hear teachers, especially teachers of younger students, say how much they love, Love, LOVE the kids. I’m a parent so I get that. While I have thoroughly enjoyed spending years with 10 year olds (and doesn’t that just put a different spin on it), I was never one of those elementary school teachers who just had to be with kids every minute. I think adults are just fine, better than fine even; I married one. I don’t think that anyone with whom I talk would doubt that I enjoy my students immensely. And, let’s think about that “spending years with 10 year olds” statement again. Sometimes it’s just time for a change. Anyone who has ever decided that a perfectly good skirt/shirt/sweater/tie/you-name-it that fits just fine is going in the donation pile knows what I mean here.
And yet, I do find myself missing the kids. A lot. In particular, I miss all the interaction and energy that a vibrant classroom community generates. Classrooms are living, breathing things. They have their own personalities that, if you are doing it right, you may have some say over, but are not totally dictating. It’s a surprise sometimes. You add the ingredients, shake it up a little, or a lot depending on how lucky you feel, and stand back. How great it that? Mostly. Sometimes the recipe is a stinker. It’s that energy and idea that any day could be one of those great days where you really feel like you are part of a group of thinkers that made me want to go to school every day. In some ways this year and this job are new enough that it sometimes seems more like a sabbatical. Time to think about what I have done, what I would do differently. Time to think about those big ideas and to think about the big picture and the long-term, which is part of what drew me to an administrative position in the first place. Now I get to the think about the big idea not just for me, or for 5th grade, or for lower school, but for the entire school.
Since I do miss those 5th graders, I plan on writing about some of our glory days together. There are many things that never got off the “write about this” list. I’m going to try to get through some more this year.