My first student teaching placement has come to an end and I find myself looking back on my experiences there. I met three classes of wonderful middle school students (sixth through eighth grades). I enjoyed how everything was so new to the sixth graders and how they seemed to take delight in almost everything. I appreciated how I was able to get to know the students in the seventh grade class so well. I gave them writing assignments almost every day, and they revealed so much of themselves and their lives to me through their writing and our conversations. I was impressed by how self-directed the eighth graders could be; they showed a tremendous amount of confidence in their abilities. I even appreciated how I found my “teacher voice” while trying to keep some of the students on-task.
I had a lot of fun during Spirit Week. I participated in every dress up day to some degree (e.g., I wore slippers on P.J. Day and came as St. Clare on Role Model Day). That Friday my students wrote scary stories in preparation for Halloween. I told them that the stories could not be gross or gory, but suspenseful and eerie. While there was a little objection to my guidelines, I think that it actually helped them to focus on setting a spooky tone. There were a few stories that seemed to have been edited for guts, gore, and blood in that the writer would describe things that were wet or dripping, but did not specify what the wet or dripping substance was. The students requested that we compile the stories into a book. I finally had a chance to do this on our first snow day (which was coincidently my second to last day with them). When I came back the next day, I presented them with the book, and they presented me handmade cards to thank me and wish me well.
My last day there was fun and bittersweet. I have appreciated my time in this placement, but I am looking forward to moving on to new things. I am glad to be taking so many memories with me. The picture above was drawn by one of my students and given to me along with an envelope full of other cards. The artist did not sign this work, which is probably just as well. When I know who sent a card I think of that person each time I see the card, but when I look at this card I see all my students at St. Clare’s School.