The end of the school year is like the end of a book. And in this case it is the end of a great book. On my Facebook post I wrote how I was having a hard time putting this book away. I loved getting to know my 22 characters. And like a good book I want more. I want to know how these characters develop and where their journey will take them. I think every teacher thinks about this. It's one of the biggest reasons we love when our students come back to visit and tell us where they are or what they are doing. I tell my students and my parents… once you are a part of my classroom you are a part of my family.
When you have been teaching as long as I have then you know it is very rewarding to have students visit or keep in touch. I have students who now have children. I have colleagues that I taught. It's always so neat to see where these kiddos end up. You actually sometimes worry about those you don't hear about. I want to know if my ESL/VE (English as a Second Language and Varying Exceptionalities) students made it safely out of the projects. Or if my student I was trying to write a Transition Plan is still in jail or if he got out and turned his life around like he promised me. Trust me I look at faces of those who are homeless or come on the news because of an arrest. There was a time I worked with such population.
Unfortunately, I also have been teaching long enough to have gone to funerals for past students. It still breaks my heart that very early in my teaching career I had to say goodbye to a great kid who unfortunately had congestive heart failure. I just learned the other day that one of my all time favorite students (YES, we do have them), Sonia, past away 2 years ago. Some of the best stories in teaching I have from that girl. She taught me patience. She taught me to not take things for granted. She taught me how to laugh at myself.
You see, some of the toughest students or classes teach you something.
This year goes into my book of hardest classes. Likely, because the class before it was also tough, but in a different way. This class of 22 characters buried themselves into my heart. I learned that I still have a lot to learn. I stretched myself as a teacher more than I thought I could be stretched. I always knew I was a good teacher but now I know I can be great. They made me go there, to the other side of what I was comfortable with. They made me read more and learn more. And because of my 22 I will be a better teacher for the children who continue to pour through my classroom. Because of the 22 I learned to focus on taking care of me as well. I am useless in the classroom if I don't take care of myself.
So, if you are part of the 22 or perhaps part of another group that has come through my classroom in Orlando, Nashville, or Winter Park, I hope you will come see me one day down the path of life. I want to know you're okay and I want to know where you are.
And if you have never been a part of the Mazzotti class family then don't forget to find the teacher. You know the one. The one who made you feel like you were a part of their family. The one who pushed you to who you might be today. The one who made the difference in your life's journey. GO tell them you're okay and thank you. So to Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs. Wilkes, and Mrs. Henderson, "Hey, I am okay!"
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner