Today is the penultimate day of my internship for this semester. (Penultimate means 'next to last'... it is my favorite word in the English language and I rarely get to use it!) Tomorrow, I will say farewell to the nineteen fourth-graders I have been working with for the past twelve weeks. My experience this semester has not at all been what I expected... some good, some bad... but, in the end, I totally afraid that I will cry tomorrow when I leave!!
About four weeks ago, you probably could have caught me saying that I didn't feel connected to these students. I wasn't sure if it was their age or just that I wasn't their normal teacher, but I didn't bond with them immediately the way I bonded with my last class. I think part of it just has to do with their community and their families. It's hard to explain without stereotyping, so... just trust me. I know what I am talking about! The past couple weeks have shown a drastic change... I am seeing that I bonded with these students early into my time with them, but it showed itself in a different way.
Instead of all the hugs and "I love you's" and sweet notes and pictures I received from my students last semester, my fourth-graders have bonded with me by letting me into their little lives. I don't know how to explain it, but it just hit me yesterday - I am so attached to these students and most of them are attached to me. Not that I've done anything special... they would probably be attached to any student teacher. But, this year, I am their student teacher and they are mine for two more days. :) I feel like these students trust me not because they have to, but because they have seen over the course of the semester that I care about them and want the best for them. Second-graders will most likely love you no matter what... fourth-graders are a little harder to impress.
Last year, I felt 100% confident that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career. I wanted tot each upper-grades... possibly only as a math teacher. Now, I am not so sure. Teaching fourth-grade has really been an eye-opening experience, as this was my first semester to see what it is really like to prep students for the spring semester's standardized tests. I won't complain here, but I know we are headed for change after 2014 when the government realizes that the majority of schools won't and never will have 100% of students reading on grade level or considered proficient in math. But that's another story for another day. :)
So, at the end of this semester, I am unsure. Unsure of what's ahead... unsure if I will actually get a job in May (I better stop griping about education so I can get a job!! I really DO love teaching, don't get me wrong!)... unsure what I will be doing long-term. But, one thing I do know for now is that I am really going to miss my fourth-graders at Buhl... more than I thought I would.