But before I move on, there are a few things to celebrate:
- As I listened to my sophomores give their graduation speeches, I was amazed at how much they had all grown. The skills they have picked up during the course of the semester showed as they stood in front of their classmates. Even the boys, notorious for their "Slacker Voice", stepped it up for this last speech. Students who read their speech looked up at us and spoke with enthusiasm. The students who took the time to memorize their speech were phenomenal! Some of the best speeches ever given.
- The reflections written by my creative writing students show that I am on the right track with this class. I still am not whole class sharing as much as I would like, but they shared amongst their writing groups well. Most like that they are able to write what they want, when they want. Most liked that they could start a draft and abandoned it if it wasn't going the way they envisioned. I laughed as they also wrote that they learned to never throw a draft away because you never knew when you might want to work on it again.
- Our new principal is wonderful. "Bossman" has been in the "line of fire" so to speak since day one. I am amazed at his resiliency and ability to keep smiling after the semester he has been through. He is the ultimate professional and treats his staff as such. It's been a long time since I had an administrator treat me like this. If you want to try something new, he is all over it. Finding you resources, sending you to observe finding the money....
- The attitudes and behaviors of students in our building are improving--thanks in large part to our principal. The rules are the rules and they now know if they break them, there are consequences. Students are learning to respect that. Many of the graduation speeches in class talked about his arrival and how it was hard to adjust. They all acknowledge this was a change for the better. He won them over!
And now, on to second semester. I wonder what surprises it will have in store?