I sat down tonight wondering what to write about, and knowing I just needed to start, my mind wandered to school this year,  and to my return to classroom life as a paraprofessional lucky enough to work with a really great 3rd grade team.  It was a good choice to return as a paraprofessional, and begin to work out the new routine of being a working mom.  I have enjoyed the experience immensely and really have regained confidence in my own joy at working with children on a daily basis.  This has been not a small part due to the congenial nature of my colleagues who I have learned so much from this year.  
This opportunity has given me a handle on some of the challenges we are faced  within this high stakes testing era and reminded me of the challenges of facing a diverse group of children with various needs both educational and emotional each and every day.  I am lucky enough to say I have learned great things from each and every staff I have been in contact and hope to recall many (but in no way all) now.
  • From Kevin, I have learned a clear expectations and quiet patience go a long way in providing a safe learning atmosphere for some of our most challenging students.
  • Chris’s careful attention to time creates a steady pace and structure for a variety of learning, while making it possible for even the smallest moments to be capitalized on for a group game or sharing of news.
  • Alan’s enthusiasm for literature inspires his class to read, and me to revisit old favorites from my youth and the many wonderful books that I seem to have missed along the way.
  • Sherill’s attention to detail and seemingly endless tales of teaching experiences and wisdom have taught me new perspectives on meeting the needs of our diverse student population.
  • Caitlin’s fresh enthusiasm and ideals, backed up with clear understandings give me confidence and hope for up and rising teachers and the future of our profession.
  • Danny’s calm and quiet, yet unyielding presence in the face of challenging students is truly a bar set high to strive for.
  • Danielle’s unflappable nature and quiet humor is a joy to see in motion with children.
  • Anne’s insight and dedication to the emotional needs of students reminds me to reflect and avoid assumptions about children.
  • Naihsin’s and Linda’s ability and determination to get to the bottom of conflicts and issues with our children is both a motivation and comfort.
  • From James I have learned that consistent compassion is a gift to be given freely.
  • Nick’s vision as a principal for a school that meets the needs of students and staff alike inspires me to do my best, and help my children see the best in themselves.

Overall, this year has been wonderful, and as any the nearing end is bittersweet.  The downfall in regaining confidence to search for a full time teacher position this year is that my search may lead me away from new colleagues and friends, but who knows really what the future will bring. . .

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