Now that the school year is over and I have had time to reflect, I realize that in the end what really matters are the connections I make with my students. Getting to know each one of my students on an individual basis and talking to them about their interests has been very meaningful.
As my students left school on the last day, they left knowing that I truly care about them and that I want the best for them as they head off to middle school in the fall. Even my most challenging behavioral student gave me a look that said, "thanks for everything." He even promised me that he would try hard to make good choices next year and come back to tell me. I will miss them all. My appreciation for them comes from all that I learned from them. I learned what I need to do to be a more effective teacher, how to listen to them when they need me to, how to take their home life into consideration and how to remind myself that I must behave the same way that I expect my students to behave.
In addition to making connections, the reflection journals I created in my class are an essential part of who I am as a teacher. My hopes are that they force the student to reflect and to maybe live more in the moment on any given day.
I appreciate all that I learned this school year and hope to continue learning and inspiring new students in the fall.