Today was hard.
I had an disagreement with a good friend at work and even though we patched things up before we left on Thursday, I spent the whole weekend thinking about it. Today, that teacher was out of the classroom working on duties for the end of year so I didn't get a chance to have any further conversation.
In addition to that, today was the last day of the 4th marking period and grades were due by 3pm. Regardless of this, and regardless of the fact that the students have been able to take reassessments all year on any topic, I had several ask if they could stay after school today for help and take reassessment tomorrow.
Me: "Grades close today."
Them: "Oh...I practiced it over the weekend. Can I take it today then?"
Me: "...Which skill?"
Them: "What do I need to make up?"
Me: "You're telling me that you spent the weekend preparing for this and you don't know what you need to make up? What did you study?"
Them: "So can I do it today?"
My schedule for next year looks very much like it does this year, meaning that I will have all of my 7th graders again. They will already know what I expect and the classroom routines, so that's a HUGE bonus. I am, however, going to be changing rooms, so my current room is packed up and mostly bare, making the end of the year feel depressing.
To top all of this off, I attempted to go over the assessments that the students took on Thursday so they could have feedback before the year ended. Most of them ignored me and I couldn't bring myself to tell them write stuff down.
After school, a few students stayed to do reassessments. They had arranged this ahead of time so all of my other grades were finalized.
In addition, another student stayed. She didn't have any assessments to take, but was sitting quietly in a desk. When I approached her, she broke down crying and opened up about the stress that she's been under at home and at school. She suffers from many of the same anxieties and depressions as I do, so I knew where she was coming from.
I let her talk.
She had a weak start to the year, but at the beginning of this marking period, when she realized she had made a mistake, she made a serious effort to pick up the slack. She has been working with a tutor before and after school almost every day and has shown remarkable improvement.
I am deeply proud of her and tell her so often.
As hard as my day was, her opening up to me made everything better. I have to keep reminding myself that if I can help improve the life of one student, then I've done well. It's a step in the right direction and I will keep it in the forefront of my mind for as long as I can.
Teaching middle school is hard.
I keep forgetting how hard it is to actually be a middle school student.