As this school year comes to an end and I finally finished cleaning out my classroom, I find myself reflecting on my journey as a fourth grade teacher.
This year has been full of changes and new opportunities and one of them being, accepting a position as a fourth grade teacher in a new school and city. Days leading up to our wedding, I got a text message from the principal inviting me to teach fourth grade. I truly was blessed and happy to receive such a message because I was praying for a job at that time. I was excited and nervous as it would be my first year managing an entire class on my own.
This school year was full of learning, adventuring, giving hugs, grading papers late at night, receiving flowers, giving out band-aids, waking up early, laughter, tears, and energetic children.
Our classroom theme this year was “Adventure in learning”. It fit perfectly for my classroom because my students were always full of energy, they were eager to learn, enjoyed hiking and going on field trips. We got along very well! Together with my ten students we created a mission statement for our classroom. My husband and I built a tepee that we placed in the back of the classroom for the students to read and rest in (it was the “cool” spot).
Every week we would pray for a new country and read stories about missionaries who worked in them. It was precious to see them concerned and wanting to help and pray for the unreached people groups who still don’t have the Bible. We also started off the year with a classroom pet “Turbo the Crusher” aka a Hermit Crab. One day, a few months later, he disappeared and we found him behind a bookshelf. He didn’t survive, sadly, so we held a funeral service for him by the playground. The kids took it quite seriously.
We had many hands on learning experiences and field trips throughout the year. We visited the library, went rock climbing, hiked to Multnomah Falls, learned about the dam at Bonneville Lock and Dam, explored Fort Vancouver, sat in the cockpit of a fighter plane at an Aviation Education Center, and pretended to be adults at BizTown.
Throughout the year we read our favorite book called The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey. We would read one story a month and introduce a habit that the students could focus on during that month. With every habit we had a fun activity or discussion. I displayed each habit on the classroom wall and would review or refer to them during my lessons as reminders.
It was challenging and at times I felt like I couldn’t handle another day with those kids, I wanted to quit, but God does not give us anything more than what we can handle. I pressed on and chose to keep loving, teaching, understanding, and to be full of grace towards each child as many of them were also going through hard times in their families.
Every day I had to meet them where they were and help them dream bigger, achieve more, learn, and encourage them to try hard and never give up.
Towards the end of the year, I started to doubt myself and the work that I was doing. Satan tried his best to discourage me and make me doubt if I was being a good teacher and if the kids really did like me. Through lots of prayer and “renewing of the mind” like Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2, I was able to finish up the year strong.
It was hard to accept the fact that they would not be with me any more especially because I get attached way to easily. I fell in love each one them and it was hard to let go. I had to realize that God had given them to me for a reason, for only a school year, so that I can make a difference in each child’s life.
What now you might think?
Well, it’s summer break and I’m enjoying it A LOT! I’ll be catching up with lots of house chores, getting much needed rest, trying out new recipes, working on crafty projects, blogging, and praying for my kiddos.
Kaite aka “Mrs. Gen”