Everyone pretty much told me that the second year of teaching is infinitely easier than the first and I am so happy to say that they are right. Everything about this year went better. I didn’t spend every moment working. I had better classroom management which led to better classes. My test scores were higher (which I know it’s not about test scores, but whatever, we all know it’s about test scores). I really enjoyed my students this year – even the ones that drove me nuts. To be honest, I had a soft spot for a few of the students that drove me nuts.
This year also showed me just how much I can care about these kids. Last year I think I was so overwhelmed with all the things that there were some students that slipped through that I could have prevented. This year though I had more time to focus on other things, which definitely benefited my students. My end of year “goal” was for one of my students, I’ll call him Jake, to pass Geometry.
Jake’s older by two years brother was currently in Algebra for the third time as a junior, entering as a freshman Jake was already one math ahead. However upon entering high school and hanging out with his brothers friends things started to unravel for Jake. While a fairly decent student in middle school he took his brother’s lead, which eventually resulted in him punching another student at school. This results in an automatic 10 days of Out of School Suspension (OSS), however in Jake’s case things turned out a bit different and he ended up serving a two month OSS instead.
This put Jake significantly behind in my class and combine that with another bought of OSS later in the year (he was caught skipping – literally, he was caught by a teacher leaving the building and then ran into the woods) and I was worried that Jake would not pass my class. He is smart (and obviously not smart as well) and can do math when he tries but it felt like he was on a path to be just like his brother. Thankfully though he did successfully complete Geometry (and all his other classes). It was a lot of hard work on my part, another teacher and him, but it was worth it in the end.
Unlike last year I had quite a few seniors this year, and several were in the “I need to pass this class to graduate” camp, which was such a pain to deal with. It’s very frustrating to care more than the student does about graduating. Seniors can be quite frustrating, but I loved getting to see the walk across the stage at graduation.
I am looking forward to what good things will happen next year, and hope to have another successful year.
But for now, I’m going to enjoy summer break.