lesson of the year: the hardest to love
today was the last day with my students.
class was a frenzy of yearbook signing, silly pictures, and group hugs.
i stood in the midst of the chaos and reflected upon what i learned this year.
did i improve upon my lesson design skills? did i become more effective as a director and producer of shows? did i choose better scripts, integrate more technology, or refine my classroom management?
many thoughts about the year were bouncing around in my head when a student approached me.
this student was my most difficult challenge for the last few months. his behavior was intense and pushed me to my limits. i called upon every ounce of patience and compassion within myself to help this human function in the world of middle school. it was a huge amount of energy and effort, and i was quite uncertain that i had made even a tiny difference.
as i stood pondering the year, this student walked up to me and handed me a piece of folded notebook paper. he did it simply, with no fanfare whatsoever, and then walked away...
i slowly opened it, and my heart cracked open with joy.
he had written a sincere note telling me how much he loved my class and that it was his best experience this year. he thanked me for teaching him and wished me a great summer.
everyone else was zipping around the room, completely absorbed in silly middle school antics, and my most challenging student had just quietly handed me a thank you note.
i was flabbergasted.
immediately i remembered a little sign i made myself at the beginning of the year which i taped to the wall in my supply closet:
although i learned many things this year, this lesson is the one that stands out, the one i want to remember, and the one i carry most dearly in my heart.