Education Opinion

Celebrations and Sorrows

By Hanne Denney — May 29, 2006 2 min read
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I am celebrating because I received my Master’s Degree, Leadership in Teaching, from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. I have now been teaching for almost two years. I’ve gone from spending my days with preschoolers exploring songs and science to discussing the European Renaissance with teenagers. It has been an exhilarating, challenging, and exhausting two years. I am feeling relieved to have made it this far. I am feeling uplifted by the experience. I am feeling like a teacher.

I’ve had numerous observations from my administrators, my teacher certification program, people from the central office, and teacher mentors. I’ve asked for suggestions and help, and gotten more than I asked for. I have learned how to manage a classroom, explain grammar, and calculate the value of an egg in depressed Germany. I’ve cried when I watched a film about the Holocaust, I have cried when I was really, really, tired’ and I’ve cried when my students’ struggles were overwhelming to them. I’ve laughed a lot, too. Celebrations and sorrows abound in education.

I’m also celebrating because this week I’ll complete all the requirements for the Resident Teacher Certification program. I’ll have earned an Advanced Professional Certificate. I’ll be a genuine tenured faculty member of Arundel High School. This is worth celebrating.

I believe that when one task is done, another arises. When the celebration ends, the work begins again. So with all this celebrating I feel a little sorrow, too. I will miss my ninth grade English class. These students made me work so hard: I learned more from them than from any other place or person. Some of them will be in my class again next year, and I feel sad because I was not successful helping them become successful. We need more time. But some will move on, and I celebrate with them.

I had to give a presentation to my mentor and my principal as an exit interview for the RTC experience. I summarized by saying that I feel I am now a competent teacher. I’m 47 years old, just beginning this career, and I have no time to let up. I’m more focused now. I want to become more than just a competent teacher; I want to become an exemplary teacher. As my principal Mrs. Stratton likes to say, “We’re going from good to great.”

So I’ve celebrated this long weekend, and rested a bit. Now just two weeks left in the school year. I’ve got to think about that next thing I’m going to do. I’ll tell you more about it shortly.

As the school year closes, I hope you’re celebrating something, too.

The opinions expressed in Ready or Not are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.