My Swan Song

I don’t know how much longer I will be in education, so I wanted to share this before it is to late…

These are little things that I do throughout the year that seem separate, but I tie them together on the last day of school. And as my students, other teachers, and myself are in a pool of tears. We say goodbye. 

On my first day of school. I introduce myself.

Welcome POWERPOINT (fear)

After our first extremely challenging problem that usually(purposefully) makes a student want to rip their hair out. I show this clip, and as I show this clip I stand right next to the board just staring at them, turning the volume up throughout the clip. As it finishes I lean forward and I am usually choked up because this clip just hits me in the feels, I say “this is all I ever want from you…… Your best!!!!” and I tell them “I promise …..Promise you will get mine”….”I’m tearing up right now….lol”

Weeks later  we talk about motivation, hopes, and dreams. I play this clip from Dan Pink. After the video each student writes their sentence, even though some can’t at the time, I tell them its due two weeks before the end of school and they laugh and think I’m joking.

Months later, during or a little before anti-bully week. I show this. “its a little longer, but so worth the watch!!!”

When the video ends I have 5 writing prompts on the board.  

1) I have been bullied….what,where,why,how

2) I have bullied…..what,where,why,how

3) No one knows I want to be ………

4) what are the names and labels others have given me…..

5) what are names and labels that I have given myself……..

I lust let them spill their hearts. I collect it when they finish. I have had a girl write 8 pages to me.  

The next day I have each student write something honest and nice about everyone in the classroom, or any student in any of my classes.  I created a Google form to make this organized and easy to do.

Then on the day before the last day of school, I give my swan song, My last lecture. “inspired by  Randy Pausch’s Last lecture “

This is my last lecture:

Upon finishing the last lecture I have a sealed envelope for each student. It contains all the wonderful things that were said about them and a personal message from me to them. I include about their writings from the Dan Pink video and their writings from the bully video.  I promise myself that I spend at least 30-45 mins writing to each student.  So as soon as I finish my last lecture I tell them to go ahead and open your letter.   Here are a few examples.

A , B , and C

So, In a pool of tears, we say goodbye

I love my students

“Awake my soul”

“…And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
My weakness I feel I must finally show”

Mumford and sons -Awake my soul-

Well, upon returning from TMC my educational career has taken a turn.  And I owe it to TMC. Actually I owe it to the people that make up TMC. You are the most encouraging, kind, resilient, and dedicated human beings that I have ever had to pleasure to meet.

Now to be honest… I am not good at making great lessons and tying in real life concepts to incorporate higher level thinking while never straying from curriculum mandates and state objectives. I admit it, I can fake that in a lesson plan, but I just can’t do that like others I have met. But, and this is a but that Sir mix-a-lot would turn his head for, I have a gift to motivate the un-motivated.  And I want to put that to the test. So I quit my job.

I am no longer a Math Teacher.   I am now the Department Head and Lead teacher at Brooke county’s alternative school program.  I get the honor of teaching English, Science, History, Math from grades 6-12.  The alternative school is for students that have extremely poor attendance, expulsions for any reason, many suspensions, and students that transfer from the youth correctional facility.  And while friends #@jamidanielle truly worry about my safety. I can honestly say that this school year has been my most exciting school year I have ever gone into.

Today was my first class, I started out lead teaching a lesson about misleading graphs and how the world and news are trying to fool you and every student was attentive. I mean every student.  Then they worked on individual assignments until lunch, then participated in physical activity, and then two hours on a credit recovery program. We finished the day with a video from Ukraine’s got Talent  because students taking art history were learning about mediums. They were still hungry for knowledge at the dismissal bell.  I have never been so happy in my entire teaching career.

Thank you TMC,  Thank you for giving me the courage to take this educational leap of faith.  For all of you that commented on my blog  with encouraging remarks… thank you….   For @lisahenry and @samjshaw sharing their previous blogs and their ups and downs with me….Thank You…. For people that I have never met reaching down to me with an out stretched hand and helping me up……THANK YOU……for @jamidanielle who has never left my corner… you are my shock paddles when I think my heart stops…..Thank You!!!

Lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I’ll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free…

…In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life

…Mumford and Sons-Awake my soul-

I love teaching… it is not what I do…It is who I am