I've mentioned already that my first year of teaching was really rough. Miss Teacher and I struggled a lot, but somehow we made it through without quitting, or killing any children.
I bring this up because a former student stopped by to see me today, and it got me thinking about a lot of things. His initial comment upon walking into the classroom was "Wow! It's so different in here!" That's for damn sure!! For starters, I've changed the way the room is organized. To be fair, I really just organized it. Last year, I lived in piles. This year, it's better. There are tables, instead of desks. There is order. Kids know what to do and they do it (mostly) independently.
But I think the most important change is the kids. I've been having the most wonderful conferences. I get to gush about these kids that I really care about and enjoy spending my day with. Last year I had to work really hard to think of something good to say about my students. I don't think that's so much a reflection on the kids themselves, but on the situation they were in (I came in mid-loop and my style was drastically different than the previous teacher's). It wasn't their fault that I was inexperienced (still am!!) run-down, and at my breaking point about mid-way through the year.
But this year is different. I have fallen in love with these children, and I want to do my best for them. It has really made all the difference.