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Since our commencement ceremony last Friday, I have been in the reflective mode. Here is my post yesterday about "seeing greatness." Today I am reflecting upon the words spoken from the teacher of the year during his speech:
"Every moment matters.
Every moment has led up to where you are today."
I have heard many times,
"All reading matters"
But "every moment matters"
Hearing these words led to more reflection about my teaching this year. Have I done enough? Have I reached certain students? Have I made every moment matter?
On the last day school before I handed a particular student his report card, I looked him the eyes and said, "If you had worked as hard all year as you did these last three weeks, this piece of paper would look much different."
He decided he would give me his best...the last three weeks of school. He showed me he could think critically, write in complete sentences, and give me his best effort. But it was a little too late. Did I make every moment matter? Could I have done more to motivate this student?
We had several students suspended the last several days of school because of behavior. Did I make every moment matter? Did I give them the tools they needed to change their behavior? Could I have done more to keep them on the right track?
Many more incidents come to mind, and I could easily see these situations as failures. Instead, I choose to see them as ways to reflect and improve my teaching.
Every moment of a school year leads up to the day my students leave my classroom. I think I will always question my practices, my decisions, and my instruction. I think that is what good teachers do.
But I know these students are the ones I will think about all summer and wonder, did I make every moment matter?