Well, here goes another year. 2013 was…interesting to say the least. There are too many world events to count, and huge momentous things that I am in no way qualified to talk about on a teaching blog.
On the personal front, it was a year of learning to wait. I did grad apps in the spring that didn’t pan out, got let go, got re-hired, and had one of the most challenging semesters I’ve had yet. But all in all, it shaped up pretty well. It was a strange year of limbo for me, but also one that taught me a lot about patience, and finding the good even in the ugly, and about enjoying simple things no matter what. I think I grew a little, and that seems like about as much as anyone can ask from a year.
The most interesting, and relevant to this blog (yes, sometimes I stay on topic), was my collection of students this semester. Partially because of me, and partially because of them, we had trouble getting places this semester. I talked and talked, but it felt like we never really got anywhere. I left the semester fairly convinced they hadn’t learned anything.
And then I looked at the class reflections, and almost cried. I got several comments that this was their favorite English class, that it challenged them, and that it helped them come out of their shells. Now granted, I forgot to give them the talk about how I don’t read these until after I grade, so some of them might be sucking up, but those folks aside, I got some very sweet and uplifting comments.
As a teacher, that’s my main goal–I want to help them. And if I can’t teach them how to formulate a bloody argument, or that a thesis statement is not a question, I’d like to at least teach them that they can write, that writing is important, or that they have opinions worth listening to. And I think I managed to do that, and that makes me feel good about the last five months.
So even though things kind of ended on a whimper instead of a bang, I still have a warm fuzzy for these kids that I never expected to have. I might actually miss them. And so many of them are teetering on the cusp–I hope they tip over on the side that lets them do great things.
So that’s me. As for you, I hope your year was full of learning and interesting discoveries, that you moved beyond something, or gained something, or just left 2013 a little better and more interesting than you found it last January first.
All the best from the blog. Everyone have a safe and happy night, and let’s give 2014 a run for its money.