A lot has happened in the few months since I last posted! And before I become a married lady in just two weeks, I wanted to catch everyone up on the craziness.
I finished up my first year of teaching in the middle of May, and it is hard to believe that the year is really over. Even though it felt like I was slowly army-crawling to the finish line, I had some great moments with the kids in the last month. One thing we did as a class was a “compliment board” day, where two kids at a time would sit with their backs to the white board while their classmates wrote kind and encouraging messages. And yes, since they’re middle school students I had to erase some of them before the students turned around, but in general they were all sweet and generous, even to students frequently picked on or excluded.
I got to plan the last unit of instruction based on a writing conference I went to in March. Students practiced short form, time-based writing in arguments, narratives, and information pieces. Comparing their writing then to where they were at the beginning of the year was uplifting for me, and I think for them too. One thing I abandoned fairly early on in the year was keeping things in writing portfolios (too much work for too little gain), but I did have their very first writing samples that they could look back on.
The team of teachers I was on could not have been more supportive or encouraging of me as I developed as a teacher. They coached me whether I was in tears or proud of the way something went. I don’t think I could have been placed in a school that would have pushed me to independence, teamwork, conflict management, and becoming a better teacher overall than Shelby County. I’m going to miss them!
Why am I going to miss them? Well because in the middle of June, Henry and I packed up our tiny, dimly lit apartment into a 20 foot U-Haul (thanks Paul!), and headed east for Washington, D.C.! Henry’s job required a lot of traveling, so he started looking for something that would let him work regular hours. Now he’s started a job in the aerospace industry – where he’s always wanted to be. I myself am looking for a teaching job still, and spend a lot of my time wondering what I should be doing – last summer I spent most of my time preparing for the new school year, but now I don’t know what grade I’ll be teaching!
Right before we moved, I was able to spend a long weekend in Denver, Colorado for the National Association for Community Restorative Justice’s conference, where I met practitioners of restorative justice from all over the country. It was great to see how restorative practices are working their way into schools – something I am very interested in doing in my classroom. I was able to talk about my writing and the book to a few people, and now that the book is finished I am starting the anxious journey of looking for a publisher or agent.
Lastly, Henry and I are just 13 days away from being married! After over seven years of being together, we are going to tie the knot officially. We can’t wait to see everyone and celebrate, but mostly we’re excited to finally be husband and wife. I’ve been practicing saying my vows while pacing around our living room, and today we are going to a dance lesson! We’re going to try to not look like two teenagers slow dancing at homecoming. I still don’t know where the honeymoon is going to be! Henry has kept this a secret from everyone – including his mom and his best friend (but I have a feeling Luna might know).
I think those are all the updates. Thanks for reading, and I’ll write again soon!