Thursday, December 2, 2010

Days Go By

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.

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