“I want you to know that you are amazing with the students and you have given me the courage to want to send my son to only the best schools because I know he can and will be great at whatever he applies himself to.”
My heart melted when I logged into Facebook this morning and read those words from a former student’s parent. At the beginning of the year, I set out to create a classroom where students felt empowered to own their educational experiences. When I gave them their K5 certificates and sent them on their way yesterday, I left knowing that–for the most part–I fulfilled my goal. It is hard to believe it is now June 2, 2012, my students are going to first grade, and I start teaching summer school for our school’s Title I students next week.
I look back on my year and realize just how hard it was at times, but, in the end, it makes it bittersweet. In many ways I was lucky: I got hired at an amazing early learning center, I had a mere eleven students in my class, and I had tremendous support from my executive director, classroom assistant, kindergarten specialist, Cardinal Stritch University, and Teach For America. I felt bad telling other Corps Members about my school and class size because I never wanted to rub it in. Yet, a smaller class doesn’t eliminate the challenges my students face. In fact, it makes them more clear and it sets the bar higher for the teacher and school.
Almost all of my students are going to first grade. The one exception is my second-youngest student who is enrolled for K5 at a school where he will be taught first-grade standards. Almost all of my students are ready for first grade. The two exceptions are students with IEPs, enrolled for summer school, and on the cusp of being ready (2-6 percentage points on my assessment). Even when I think about those two students, I think about how I pushed their parents–after a year and a half at our school–to consider having their students evaluated for learning disabilities. I guided these two parents through the process and we found that one student is hyperactive and my have psychiatric issues and the other has developmental delays due to lead exposure as a small child. I believe that after another four weeks with me these students will be ready for first grade, and when they go they will get the additional support they need because we got it down on paper with Milwaukee Public Schools. Rather than have to deal with this process again in the future, they will have a document with which they can defend their child and demand the resources their child needs to be successful in school.
Personally, I struggled being here in Milwaukee for the first half of the year. I missed home. I constantly questioned why Teach For America placed me in Milwaukee and not Detroit. I even considered submitting a transfer request. But, as I got to know my students and my school, built relationships with new friends here, and grew my relationship with my partner in nearby Chicago, I realized Milwaukee was a good fit. I am so grateful for the connections I have made in this city this year, and I know they will serve me well in the future.
Year one? It’s done. I’m swelling with pride and I know that next year will only be better. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way and thank you to everyone who was reading the blog! Jun 19, 2013 – Order use form of essays Viagra as directed by your doctor. check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions. Furosemide online canada, Confidential and private service, highest quality medicines. Carl (Left)