Looking back

I remember that first morning, stepping into the classroom and standing in front of the empty tables; the white board an expectant blank surface just waiting for my marker to expound on fractions and decimals and demonstrative pronouns.
But no one came.
It was an anticlimactic beginning and now, months later, the year comes to a satisfying end. My class picked up speed as we went along and over the course of the semester I had a dozen students filter through. I began with no experience, no training and shaky math skills. I ended with a lot more confidence and knowledge than when I started.
I also collected bits and pieces of my students’ stories. I have each name and face in my memory. They dropped out of high school because of social issues, because they got in with the wrong crowd, because they started to fall behind in the 7th or 8th grade and by the 9th grade had given up. During my first semester I had a born-again-Christian who preached the gospel every chance he got and narrowly escaped prison time which led to his conversion; I had a man from Mexico who worked hard to learn reading and grammar and math in his second language; I had one young student who never missed a class and several who were dropped because of their many absences. I have had some get angry and storm out of the classroom and a few who have thanked me for teaching them. Three of my students tested well enough to move on to the Adult High School Diploma Program or GED and the most gratifying moment of the semester was telling them they had passed my class. Its been an interesting experience, teaching. We’ll see what next year holds!

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