Today is my last day with my Monday/hybrid students. I’m going to hear the last of their persuasive speeches and collect the written portion of the final; we’ll chat a little about what they know and what they still need to work on (I’m expecting the latter will be a longer list than the former); and I’ll ask them to write me letters. Then, we’ll wave goodbye.
I’m looking forward to the letters. While I tend to disregard the top and bottom sentiments (the “you’re the best teacher EVER!” and the “this class totally sucked and was a complete waste of my time” ones), I learn a lot from the kids in the middle; the ones who take the time to articulate what they got out of the class and what they didn’t quite get. I don’t mind students pointing out mistakes I made; I had some really great comments from my hybrid composition class last term about how to try to make that format a little more successful, even though the students turned right around and said that it probably wouldn’t work anyway because the hybrid format “blows.” I also really love when they point out the things that stuck in their minds – things that I may not have seen as necessarily successful exercises, but which worked for them. I’m hoping that at least some of the students can thoughtfully assess their experience with me this term and give me some useful feedback.
On the last day of classes, I tell my students that, even though I’m not their teacher anymore, I’m still interested in their success. I tell them to keep my email address and to use it if they ever need help writing or editing cover letters or resumes, or if they need letters of reference for jobs. None of them has taken me up on that thus far, but I think it’d be wonderful to hear from a former student sometime in the future. I like to keep my proverbial doors open.
So, today marks the end of this term for these kids. Tomorrow is my girls’ last day of school (and Punkin’s last day of elementary school – she’s a middle schooler starting in September!) and Thursday will be the last offical day of classes for my T/Th kids (though I’m not sure we’re going to meet on Thursday. I have to talk to my boss about that). I’m relieved, excited, and hopeful, all in the same breath. It’s been a good term, all things considered, and I really do feel like I learned a lot more about how to be a good teacher in these last 12 weeks. I’m even looking forward to doing it again; summer classes start on the 9th of July…