It's hard to believe that my first year is nearing an end, and these final days are an experience all in themselves. Senioritis runs rabid, but they remain focused on getting to the finish line. Some of my freshmen students have secured the long-awaited sense of urgency, scrambling to complete overdue assignments and pleading to retake exams originally given 2-3 months ago. These are trying times for every first-year teacher, but I am MOST comfortable in my new threads.
Since Seniors finish school a few days earlier than other underclassmen, today was FINALS DAY and they closed a long-awaited chapter in their lives. Prior to taking their final exam in Econ Class, I paused to say "thank-you" to this group of thirty students. "I appreciate the respect you provided to me as well as your insight on life. You have much to look forward to, not only at Sunday's graduation, but in the months and years to come. Good luck!" I could feel their stress and assured them that all would be well. Now, the test.....
When the final bell rang, I collected the scantron sheets and entered grades into Skyward- as is the normal procedure, then went about my business for the balance of the day. Prior to closing up my room, I pulled those Econ tests and read their "No Count Essay Response" to the following question: In a minimum of fifty words, tell me whether this class truly provided you with a feel for the subject of Economics. Do you believe you'll be able to put this information to good use at some point in your lifetime? And yes, I can handle the truth!
I expected some sarcastic responses and even prepared myself for a couple of atomic bullets. It was a wonderful way to end the day and every comment hit close to my heart. One such individual shared this with me: "Yes, I actually do believe I will use the stuff we learned in the future. I already used one piece of your advice when I wrote a thank-you card to a company after they gave me an interview. They called me back three days later and said I was the first to ever do that, and they appreciated it so much I got the job and will be moving to Iowa next week. Thank you Mr. D....this was the best class of my senior year. :)" The balance of the written responses were just what I needed to end the day on a positive note. I did make a difference in their learning experience and they have knowledge in place which will aid their success.
Moments like this make my new career all so worthwhile. It has invigorated me to take it to another level and I look forward to taking "teaching" to the next level in years to come. I've accepted the position of AP Economics at BDHS next year, a first-time offering at our school. I have an opportunity to engage students looking to excel at a college-level course, and I'm up for the challenge like never before!