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Finishing My 1st Year of Teaching

These 60 kids that I spent 180 days with will forever hold my heart.
 They are the kids that forgive me when I'm grumpy, that hold my hand when I'm sad, the kids who laugh at my dance moves, 
but MOST IMPORTANTLY they are the kids that made me a TEACHER.

I finished my first year of teaching and I still have all my hair (jury's out on my sanity though!)
Wednesday was my last day of school, and I can't believe these cute firsties of mine are now on their way to second grade. I still remember the day they walked into my classroom in August. We were all nervous (especially me) and didn't fully know what to expect, but somehow we figured it out together and before we knew it, it was May! 

It's hard to express all of my feelings into words. Teaching is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experience I've ever had. In my classroom, we have a sentence on the wall that serves as our daily motto: "In first grade, we do our best." Each morning, we recite it together. At first I thought this would serve as a good reminder to them of my expectations for our classroom. However, as the year progressed, I found that there were days when I needed to recite that motto to remind myself to keep going - even though I was frustrated, angry, sad, or disheartened. Now that the year is done, I can honestly said that I did my best. It came from a lot of late nights working at the school, lots of lost sleep (#teacherbrain), trying again, and trying better. My poor husband thought I did nothing else but worry and focus on first grade... which is probably accurate. Of course, the list is never done, and it feels like I could always do more for my kids. But when I step back and really reflect on my year as a teacher, I felt like every failure, success, and learning moment was exactly what I needed. 

I know there is a lot of conversation in the world today about teachers/education/public schools and a lot of teachers are walking out of a profession that once held their heart. While I can understand their feelings of frustration, this year taught me that teaching is so much more about myself. It's about the kids - the ones who come to school because the classroom is safer than their home. It's about the kids who won't leave until they give me a hug, because they probably aren't getting one at home. It's about the kids who work their butts off to beat their DIBELS scores because they know that in my classroom, we do our best. It's about the day to day moments where I have the chance to help seven year olds learn to forgive, take turns, celebrate successes, and try again when we fail. They've cried, I've cried. I've laughed, and they've laughed at me when I pull out my goofy dance moves. They've learned, but I've learned the most. 

Being a teacher has my heart, and nothing is more satisfactory
 than realizing you are right where you should be. 

Bring on Year 2!
Love P

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