Home Stretch, One Last Time

March was a mostly good month.  The beginning of the month started out a bit bumpy.  The momentum I have been trying to keep up has been waning, and at times, it has felt like progress has stopped completely.  But individual students seem to be finding motivation in little bursts, which has been keeping things moving.  Also, I’ve been really happy with the results of demanding perfection.  Kids grumble and curse, but the quality of their work is much better.  Plus, I have come to realize how important it is to require this level of repetition of the detailed processes.  I think part of the reason that my students lack so many skills is because they weren’t required to turn in rigorous work.  I’m trying to tell the kids that just plugging numbers into their calculators means nothing, the point is that they understand the processes, the reasoning and the notation, so that we can build on that.  Maybe I will leave something of worth behind after all.

Speaking of which, as of today, I am officially leaving the school after this school year.  I spoke with my administration today, and I submitted my resignation, effective July 1.  If I’m still in Baltimore next year, I might continue to work with the basketball team and with other extracurricular activities.  But my career in teaching is nearing its official end, and I feel unambiguously good about that.

Also during March, my administration graciously granted me leave to go on rugby tour to Barbados, which is another story entirely.  And of course, there was official Spring break, which wraps up today, as we return to school.

As usual, I know that the return to work is going to be jarring, but that feeling is tempered by the fact that the end finally seems within reach.  Coming back from winter break, I couldn’t say that, because my first semester this year was very difficult, and the idea that I could potentially be in for a carbon copy of that was frightening.  But this time, I’m returning to wrap up what has probably been the most successful quarter of my teaching career, and if I can replicate that, just once, maybe I can end this year on a good note.

One thing that is definitely coming toward us slowly but inevitably is HSA season.  Our sophomores are scheduled to take HSA’s in English, Biology and American Government, and about half of them will be repeating the HSA Algebra exam.  This year, it feels much better, seeing as it’s not me in the pressure cooker.  But because so many of our sophomores have not passed the algebra exam, I will still have a good deal of work to do.  Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to plan out my next year.

No more breaks from school now, it’s the home stretch.