As the school year winds down, the daily chores wind up. Transition sheets, awards, field trips, budgets, bid orders, IEP meetings, all needing to be accomplished yesterday. The weather is getting hot which makes it hard to keep 7th grade brains, already looking forward to June 23rd, focused on assignments. We went from 48° mornings to 90° afternoons in 24 hours. My classroom was in the 90°s 2 days last week with lots of humidity by 9 am. It felt like a sauna.
We've been busy at church too. We held a planning retreat, creating a master calendar for the next 12 months, but spending the bulk of our time starting to discuss some big questions about our future. We desperately need to change, but we need to figure out how. I"m the moderator, so I'm charged with guiding the conversation. We're also wrestling with other questions, most recently today: How do improve our handicapped access to the front door? We have a ramp, but it's poorly designed, too steep, and almost impossible to navigate without help. There is a proposal on the table that has many folks very concerned because it will alter the appearance of the front of the church. I wish we could all walk in the shoes of people who feel unwelcomed by our current entrance. Perhaps the appearance of the church would be less important. Perhaps more people would understand why our new access has to be ADA compliant rather than "it's better than nothing."
That's one of the lessons I've learned this year. I was moved (against my will) to a different grade level this past year. I struggled all year, not just learning a new curriculum, but learning to use totally different classroom management techniques. For years I'd been one of the many teachers who looked askance at this grade level's teachers, wondering why they didn't do a better job of making their kids mind. After 9 months, I've discovered that this grade level is different. What worked in my former grade level doesn't work with older kids, and you really have to pick your battles. I've apologized to my new team for my previous attitude, and in fact, I've gone back to my old team and told them how wrong we were to criticize. I've walked in their shoes, and things are definitely different. I've been humbled by this experience, too. I've had to ask for help in areas I've never needed help in before, and I have failed a few times too.
I am looking forward to returning to my "home" next year - not just to sixth grade, but also to the subjects that are near and dear to my heart. I will bring this year's experience back with me, and remember to be charitable!
Next on my immediate agenda: I'm one of 2 people in charge of our monthly community church supper next week. It's both a church fundraiser and a major community fellowship event. Lots of work and lots of fun, and I think my brain was on vacation the day I put my hand up to coordinate it. I am also packing my room at school for the move back to 6th grade in between normal teaching. No rest for the weary, at least until June 23!