It’s summer in Chicago! The weather’s warm and everyone’s outside. After months of cold and snow, Chicago comes alive in summertime.
Everyone always says that time flies, but this year it seems especially true. It feels like only weeks ago that I was applying to become a blogger for Reality 101. Just setting up my classroom, excited for the year to begin. Nervous as I started my master’s program. And here I am, a year later, and I feel like I’ve experienced so much in the past 12 months!
I’m very sad to say goodbye to this blog. I was so excited to become a part of something I felt was so worthwhile for new teachers. Thank you to everyone who read or commented on my blogs. Your thoughts have meant more than you know!
It’s been a hectic summer and I’m excited for the school year to begin in less than a month. I’m fortunate to be going back to a job I love. As much as my students need the routines, I’ve found that I also crave the structure of the school year. To prevent withdrawal, I’ve spent my summer teaching extended school year (ESY) — catching up with students I’ve had for the past year, getting to know students I’ll have next year, and worrying about those I haven’t seen since May.
This summer has been a learning experience for me in other ways. My ESY tenure was cut short due to throat surgery that I found out I needed in June. (That’s the life of a teacher — I push all my appointments until June, July, and August!) The past week I’ve been almost without a voice. Even when I talk as loud as I can, it sounds like a whisper. I’m praying my voice is back to full strength before recess duty begins!
This humbling experience has definitely made me reflect on how my students must feel facing challenges every day. Post-surgery, others can barely hear me when I try to communicate. I’m self-conscious when I go out in public because my stitches stand out (I wear scarves to cover them). I am challenged by everyday things I used to take for granted, and I’m relying on others for a lot of support. I will admit that at one point I stomped my feet in frustration. I’m definitely developing a new appreciation for the emotions my students feel!
I also know how fortunate I am that I will heal within days to weeks; I would never compare my temporary challenges to a lifelong disability. That said, being in a vulnerable position has reminded me to stay empathetic and compassionate, even when I want to lose it. Experiences like this teach me how to be a better teacher.
I’ve also managed to fit in some fun recently, reading books other than textbooks, going away for long weekends. That is another thing I have learned: Growing as a person is what helps me grow as an educator. The more experiences I can bring to the classroom, the more I can convey to my students. This summer’s not yet over, but I’m already looking forward to the next one and where I can go. Volunteering to teach abroad is high on my priority list!
As I close out my final blog post, I want to say “thank you.” Thank you to the readers, thank you to CEC, and thank you to my supportive school team, who allowed me to participate in the blog. Always remember that we are in the most rewarding profession in the world. Every day is a new chance to change a life; you’ll never know how much of an impact you can make. Take the job seriously, but approach things with a light heart.
Warm wishes and best of luck to you all as you start out on your education journeys. . . .