Jun 20, 2012

Third Year

The End of the Road, CAA Class of 2012.  I love this photo of my graduates this year, there's something really elegiac about them all walking away, arm in arm.  Plus it's the only group photo I can use online and meet the permissions requirements of the parents of a few of the students.

The third year is something of milestone. You're done with the first year learning curve where your getting your bearings and learning the lay of the land.   You have no reputation to precede you and must forge one.  It's serious business--because you get it wrong and you'll be undoing those mistakes for years to come. Second year, you're solidifying your gains from year one, but there's still a fair amount of getting situated, as in many classes you are teaching new content.  You've known most of the kids only a year as the school year starts, and while the kids may know what kind of ship you run and what your expectations are, they're still getting to know you.

Third year, though, is where you finally hit your stride.  You are finally firing on all cylinders and now have the wherewithal to start figuring out how to raise your game, to take it to the next level.  You are past survival mode and your are seeking to thrive.  Your eighth graders will now be students you've been working with for going on three years and you have a different kind of relationship, one that's been  growing over years instead of months.  Even the new students benefit from the third year boost.  They are "grandfathered in" as it were, and reap the closer connection right along with the veterans.

This year was a tough year, but a really good one. I faced  challenges, fell short in some, rose to others.  In spite of whatever difficulties I faced with my students, I felt really good about each of my kids (even, and perhaps especially, the most challenging ones).  That affection will remain as each student goes on to carve out his or her future in high school.  I hope to stay in touch with them, and I pray we meet again.  Perhaps in New York City once again sometime in 2016 (we still have to see that Broadway show), definitely in that Greatest of All Cities, where by God's grace I'll see them all again, this time walking towards me instead of away.

1 comment:

Mai said...

It's cool that we both are on the same "schedule" in our respective places. Year 3 was SO busy for me - I thought it should be easier by now, but now that I'm all settled in, I think they keep adding more to my plate!!! But it was super rewarding to have worked with the 8th graders for the past 3 years in Math - I saw so much progress with some of the students, it was amazing - the continuity is so beneficial!!!! Congrats to finishing third year...... and blessings as you get ready for fourth year!!!