Well I actually did it...I graduated! It got pretty tough towards the end there, and to keep my head above water I had to cut myself off from the world and work. I was student teaching a freshman class at the high school in the morning, then driving over to the middle school and teaching two 7th grade classes in a row. After teaching and inhaling my lunch I usually tried to work on my 2nd work sample on my laptop for the rest of the day. This last term, while a little lighter on the work load, was emotionally draining and I was often fighting back tears or yells of protest during the day. Nothing like a good cry in the kiln room eh? Without going into details, lets just say that you can't always choose who you work with and as a grad student you have to grin and bare it...then drink when you get home.
There were several things that got me through this term besides alcohol though. What really helped me the most not just this term, but this entire year was my fiance Mike. Without his support, home cooking, advice and love I don't know if I would have survived this year without an ulcer. The other big thing that got me through was actually my students. I had some amazing classes this year that I really bonded with (shout out to the 1st period freshman art class in WACA!) and although at times we all wanted to strangle each other I think everyone learned something important, maybe me the most of all. Other people that I should thank are my mentor teacher Cathrine who is the most patient, inventive and dedicated teacher I've met, and my entire cohort at Western who always kept me laughing when I wanted to cry or fall asleep in class (remember: the answer is always Marzano!).
Please excuse the sappy rant, but the finality of this adventure is starting to sink in and I have a good glass of dessert wine beside me. I read in an NEA magazine once that every teacher should have an emergency file for when they don't think they can make it another day and they're wondering why they chose teaching. They recommended that you put in inspirational articles, letters from students, or anything else positive and motivating. Above my fiance's computer he's taped a story that he got from a coworker about teaching, and every once in a while I'll read it and am reminded of why I'm doing this. He recently found the online version of the article and I thought I'd post it here. Although I'm sure that many of you have read it before I encourage you to print it out and start an emotional-emergency file of your own for those days when you find yourself crying in the kiln room.
Peace, and remember: you make a goddamn difference!