|Year 1: Quiet Reading Outside|
When I first moved to teaching elementary students, everyone asked, with hopeful anticipation, “How’s it going!?!” I barely told anyone how I was really feeling. I hated it. I worried what others would think about everything I did, I wondered if I was doing it “right”, and I wished that there was some way I could get the students to stop calling me Mrs. Strasser all the time. First of all, I was completely overwhelmed by hearing my name so many times in one hour and also, didn’t they know it’s Ms. not Mrs.? I was certain everyone could see my uncertainty in my eyes, but no one ever let on to knowing of my secret struggle. I soldiered on in the hopes that things would improve. October came and went, November too, and sometime in December I began to see a tiny gleam of light. Soon after we returned in the New Year, I began to feel truly bonded with my little group. I finally got them. Interesting thing is, they had gotten me all along.
I know change isn’t for everyone, but having taught high school for over 15 years, I was ready to try something new. My teaching goals over the previous 3 or 4 years had become centered on building community, teaching across the curriculum, and implementing a full inquiry-based model of teaching and learning. These things were happening in my high school classroom, but took ages to accomplish.
Now in my third year of teaching Grade 6/7 in a K-7 elementary school, I feel (mostly) at home. I love seeing the same students every day and I love the openness of the schedule we share.
There are still things I miss about teaching teenagers - the challenge of getting them to buy-in, the elevated level of discussion, and the sarcasm. I can see myself going back someday; but for now, I love the new challenges of preparing students for those high school years free of the self-consciousness of the teen years. We are free to be ourselves growing and learning in the in-between.