Bittersweet Symphony

It has finally come. The day that seemed a million years away when we were looking at our calendars in August and were asked to use a colored pencil to shade in the days of an RCSD calendar. The day that seemed lost in the whirlwind of deadlines and lesson plans and wondering if you’re doing a good job and wondering what strategies work best of that one kid in seventh period…

The last day of student teaching and the last day at our eight week placement.

It’s sweet in that I feel accomplished. I remember coming into this school year so wide-eyed and a bit scared of the things to come. I wasn’t sure what kind of teacher I would be and how I was going to take all the theory from Summer A and B and apply it. Heck, I didn’t even feel comfortable in my teacher clothes. Now I feel comfortable being “Mr. Han” in all aspects, and I have very strong pluses  to build off of and clear arrows that I can work on to take my teaching to that next level.

It’s sweet because I’ve met some amazing people along the way. From the SSO’s who have a difficult job, but do it with a smile and a gentleness that is admirable to the secretaries that are willing to lend a hand to a student teacher who may not his stuff together on a particularly rough day, I have been blessed to meet these people. In addition, the other teachers that I had a chance to observe, who even though I would say “pretend I’m not here,” would take the time to explain their rationale and add to my notes. The teachers who would say “hi” to me in the copy room and give me words of encouragement when I needed them.

It’s bitter because I say goodbye to two amazing CT’s. Two caring, hard-working, and unbelievably strong women who I hope to grow up to be like one day. To Mrs. Barnum and Ms. Ortenzi, I could thank you every minute of every day and it still would not be enough. The things you have taught me, the tough love and gentle encouragement when I needed it, and the opportunity to work alongside you are things I will hold dear.

It’s bitter because I am leaving a bit of that behind for a new chapter. As hard as it was, there were moments of pure joy in watching the students grow, shine, and surprise me. The little conversations in the hallway, talking trash about each other’s sports teams and harmonizing to top 40 songs, that I will miss. I’m going to miss the students so much and miss the chance to create new little moments.

I know I’m going to wake up on Monday with a weird mix of emotions as I put on jeans (and not khakis).  There is a lot going on in my head right now. Part of it is because this last day snuck up on me, so I haven’t really given myself the chance to think about it. In navigating the student teaching life and all the pluses and arrows I often forget to process the more complex emotions. In the spirit of mindfulness I spill my bittersweet state of mind onto this blog. It was a hard journey, and there were moments when the last day could not come soon enough. Now that it is here… I’m not quite sure.

To the people at my placements: I would not be here without your generosity and kindness and I promise that I will pay it forward and make you proud.

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