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In The Shoes of a First-Year Teacher: Part 3- The Final Chapter

This first year teacher reflects on the year, some things I learned and my thoughts on next school year.

The first week of summer break and so far things are great. I plan on catching up on reading and movies and getting a start on preparing for next year. Some faves already from the past month or two: The Avengers, The Lorax, The Hunger Games and the first season of Game of Thrones.

With this blog I wanted to share my thoughts about my first year of teaching. It is funny as I reread my first blog and noticed one thing remained the same. Time still disappears so quickly! It is apparent that I never found the time turner from Harry Potter. I boggles my mind to think of how quickly the year flew by. I had many intentions on writing new blogs but I could never find the time. However, the last few weeks of the school year I only wished to use the precious Harry Potter item for one thing: Spend a little more time with my class. We had a second grade talent show and one of the cafeteria staff said to me "You really love these kids. You can tell." My response was yes I do. I loved my class and grew very close to not only my students but families as well. It was very hard to say goodbye for the year.  Normally a teacher will tell their students to have a great summer and I'll see you next year. For me that is not the case because I will be moving to Clearmount Elementary School as part of the restructuring of the Unified Elementary Design. I always enjoy seeing former students in the hallway for a high five or a hug so it'll be hard not see my students anymore. Two of new colleagues at Clearmount are moving from Greentown and they will not know anybody. I will know some of the students and a few families so things could be worse. 

Reflecting on the year here are several things I learned.

1. Certain months will be busier than others. August and September are crazy and hectic. The first month of school is crucial in establishing rules, expectations and building relationships with students and families. In addition we have parent nights, beginning of the year assessments and preparation for conferences. Things don't settle down until October. February was also very busy due to conferences and second grade testing. Lastly, May was once again crazy and hectic. There are many things to prepare for the end of the year: end of the year assessments, report cards, dividing students into groups for next year. The year begins and ends in the same fashion.

2. Establish a relationship with parents. Early in the year I stress to parents the need to be a cohesive team. Students won't be successful if parents and teachers are not on the same page. I called our class TEAM RUSS because a team can only be successful if all members work together. If you follow sports then you know that one person can't do everything. Every team member supports each other for a common purpose. I felt I had great relationships with parents and I very thankful for all of the support they gave me and their children throughout the year.

3. Don't be afraid to rely on others. I was very dependent on my colleagues this year. I had the pleasure of working with two amazing teachers who both retired at the end of the year. They were always informing of things that needed to be done and what topics we would cover each week. They were always willing to lend an ear or give advice. Thank you so much Mrs. K and Mrs. O. for keeping me afloat. Next year will be even more crucial because there will be five second grade teachers at Clearmount next year. Two of us are currently in second grade while the others are moving down from third grade. We will definitely communicate and rely on each other with all of the changes next year brings.

Here are my thoughts going into 2012-2013 school year. It will be a learning year for not only students but staff as well. The majority of the staff and students at Clearmount will be new to the building. The district is implementing a new K-5 math curriculum called Everyday Math. Clearmount is also incorporating a new literacy program called The Daily Five and a behavior program based on the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today. The school year will be exciting and look forward to all of the relationships that will be made.

August still seems a long way off. I know that time will slowly tick away and it will be time to set up my classroom again. Hopefully this year I won't spend 50+ hours setting everything up. One good thing is that I know many other teachers will be in the same boat. I plan on blogging in August to give you an update on the move in process. That is if time allows.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Nancy Frank June 07, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Welcome to Clearmount Mr. Russ...see you in August!
Lisa Rambaud June 07, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Mr. Russ, You will be missed by all the students and families whose lives you influenced. My children both speak highly of you and how much they will miss seeing you in the halls next year. Thanks for making this year memerable for my son. Good luck next year. Those who have you are blessed. God Bless!
Morgan Day (Editor) June 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Thanks so much for giving us some insight into your first year of teaching! So glad you were on board with sharing your experiences on Patch. And it seems like the Patch community has really enjoyed your blogs as well. Would love to see that blog in August, too! (No pressure!)
Dianna Queen June 08, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Though I didn't catch your first two entries, I enjoyed reading through your thoughts this morning. Pretty much everything you said is relevant for those of us who are veteran teachers as well. You've given me an idea! I have just wrapped up my 29th year of teaching. I think it would be great fun to blog about my thoughts and experiences as I begin my final year of teaching this August. Maybe...we'll see...you know how busy those first few months can be:) Dianna Queen
Matt Ile June 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Just wait until your second year Mr. Russ. It's going to be great!
Morgan Day (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 06:55 PM
From a first-year teaching blog to a final-year teaching blog ... I like it! Congrats on nearly 30 years in education, Dianna! If you have any questions about setting up a blog, just let me know — Morgan.Day@patch.com.
David Russ June 09, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Thank you Mrs. Frank. I very much look forward to joining the Clearmount staff.
David Russ June 09, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Thank you for the kind words. It was a pleasure to have Miranda and Smiley in class and I look forward to the chance to have Payton in a few years.
David Russ June 09, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Sorry I disappeared for a few months. I had every intention of blogging monthly but time never cooperated. I will try to do better in August and the following months.
David Russ June 09, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I think the readers would love to hear from a teacher who's in her final year of teaching. Since I worked with 5 staff members who retired at the end of this school year, it was very interesting to hear their thoughts and emotions.
David Russ June 09, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I am very excited about next year. I think we have a great group of staff who is very passionate and are looking forward to the challenges next year brings.

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