Every year at the end of the year I get so emotional about teaching. I question "did I do enough?" "Did I prepare my students for what's ahead?" " Did I give them my all?"
This year was tough for me personally. . . the toughest I have had so far. Losing my dad took my feet out from under me in spectacular fashion. I have never experienced loss or grief like this before. I know it's a gift in disguise . . . if my dad wasn't such an amazing father - grandfather - person - educator - principal . . . you name it, I wouldn't feel such loss. I know how lucky I was to have him in my life.
And while those doubts mentioned above occur every year, this year they got to me more than ever. I hope I did enough. I hope I prepared them for what's ahead, both math and otherwise. And I hope that while I was a bit wounded, they know I gave them my all. I think my dad, the educator, would be proud of my work with my kids. I'm also sure he would have a few tips and pointers of what I could do better . . . that's what made him great.
So as this week involves my seeing two classes a day, I now have the painful task of saying goodbye to the kids I am lucky enough to hang out with for 186 school days. I already said goodbye to my seniors two weeks ago (the picture above was an inside joke from our last day) and now it's time to say goodbye to the rest. And dang if it isn't hard EVERY SINGLE YEAR. You'd think I'd toughen up by now. But no. When a quiet student in one of my co-taught classes left a note for my coteacher and I last Friday thanking us for caring . . . we were both brought to tears.
I will miss being Mrs. Rogers, the teacher, for the summer. But I am excited for another group to hang out with next year.
We went to the parade this morning, and I pulled up my chair next to an older gentleman. He was a sweetheart, one of those guys that reminds you of your father . . . or for my younger friends your grandfather. He has a sweet twinkle in his eyes, and would get up and retrieve candy that was out of Jenna's reach and hand it to her.
When the first servicemen marched through, my new friend stood immedidately, and proceded to salute. It was then I noticed that his hat said WWII Veteran. GULP. I knew I had to thank him for his service. I also knew I was in the presense of greatness.
During the parade, a sweet young mother who was walking in the parade was waving and walking her route, and she spotted my new friend. She veered right over, took his hand, and said warmly, "Thank you for serving our country." And she meant it. I looked over at him, smiling, just in time to catch his tears. And for those of you who know anything about me, I am quick to tears myself. So I looked away and let him have his moment.
We enjoyed the rest of the parade together, and when it was over Bill and I both thanked him and shook his hand. As I walked away the tears hit again. And while I know Memorial Day is about honoring the fallen, (I love this post with thoughts on this day) I can't imagine better company for a Memorial Day parade. A day to remember, to be sure.
Since today is an ICE DAY, AKA a day off from school, AKA AWESOME, I thought I would take a minute and post something on this poor, neglected blog.
It's a bit of a tough day for me, as it's my dad's birthday. But the funny thing is the connection we had over calling snow days. All of my life, if the weather showed any hint of snow-day possibility, I would go to him and ask him to "call it." And dang if my whole life he didn't call it perfectly! And year after year I would share with my students my dad's "gift." I suppose over time it has become mine, as I am known with my students as the "Snow Day Queen."
So who whoulda thunk that in April, the first birthday without my dad, when a snow day was virtually IMPOSSIBLE, that we would indeed get one?
Here is a week of Project Life that was shared on the Simple Stories blog.
I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge that 2012 was a tough one for me, both personally and professionally. To say I'm healing from the death of my dad is a reach. A stretch at best. It is what it is. But one of the greatest gifts I received from my dad was that of positive thinking. My dad was an action-taker, and a worry-hater. He would encourage me to find what's been GOOD about 2012. He would remind me that there is SO MUCH to be thankful for. That my struggles are small compared to others. So here's to you, daddy.
2012 was the year Emily got engaged. I could not be happier to officially add Kevin to our family.
2012 was the year we got Nelli. She is such a joy in our lives, and I can't imagine our home without her. Well, I can . . . it would be neater. I digress.
2012 was the year we spent the summer exploring Michigan. We were on vacation 29 days. We saw so much of our beautiful state, and had some seriously needed R&R.
2012 was the year my family welcomed the beautiful Colton to the family. I could not be happier for my nephew, and my sister the proud g'ma.
2012 was another creative year for me, being part of the Webster's, Simple Stories, and Elle's Studio DT. I am thankful for each and every opportunity.
2012 was a year that I had the honor of teaching roughly 250 kids over the last two school years. Students who remind me why I do what I do . . . why I love being a teacher. I am so fortunate to be in a profession that puts me in contact with amazing people on a daily basis.
I am intrigued by the One Little Word movement for 2013. Of course I have a list of my sarcastic faves, but I will spare you that list. I also found this worksheet (teacher much?) about unraveling 2013 and setting goals. I'm not sure I'm deep enough to really get at my word, or the direction I would like to take. But it's worth a try!
Normally I am a huge fan of this season. The colors, the crisp air, caramel apples . . . what could be better? But this fall has kicked my butt. The only upside to being trapped at home, coughing my lungs out with bronchitis, is that I have caught up with some of my scrapbooking, even, dare I say it, working ahead. I know, right? Finally an upside.
I think I need to get back to school so I can get some rest. Between the puppy time,
Em and Kevin coming home to visit,
the planning and cooking for the shower, to the shower where this little one stole the show . . .
although you wouldn't know it by her . . .
to Maggi's birthday party,
to reuniting with friends,
to lots and lots of laughs and food,
to coffee at Beth's to visit with the kids before they all head home, to taking pictures of my cousin's family, to saying goodbye to the kids, to feeding daddy . . . well the weekend was full. Full of fun, full of family, full of love. In short, full of everything that matters to me. Exhausted, but happy. What it's all about.
See my footsteps? It's been a bit dry in Michigan, so the proof is here. I have been walking daily. Now for my local peeps, let me apologize if you've seen me out walking. It's not pretty. They say everyone looks good in yoga pants. Um, not so much. For hot days I've had to resort to the active skirt so my shorts don't look like I'm wearing a diaper. It's interval walking, which I resorted to after attempting running which KILLED my knees. Also NOT PRETTY. But I'm doing it. The bad news? I gained 6 pounds. Oh yeah. That was encouraging. But I'm doing it. One step at a time.