As a first year teacher, I had very little on which to base comparison. I could not say with any certainty, “This is what sixth-graders are capable of doing,” or, “This is what they cannot do.” To some extent, there was freedom in that way of thinking. It was trial and error. There was no little voice in my head stopping me from attempting.
In the past couple months I’ve found myself doing a great deal of comparing, often without really realizing it. I can’t seem to stop myself from comparing, even though I know I should not. Everything I do, everything the students do, gets pasted up side by side with last year, in my teaching time line. And, more often than not, I start to see huge differences and wonder about them constantly. I forget that these are different kids with different abilities and different ways of interacting with school and with me. I forget that if I’m going to do any comparing at all, it can’t be between the last few months of last year and the first few months of this year. That wouldn’t be fair. Unfortunately, that is what is freshest in my mind.
The weird thing about teaching is that you leave one year with all these fully-intact and established relationships, only to start off another year from scratch. There’s a sort of whiplash feeling that goes along with that.You’re in the same building, doing almost the same things, but it all seems very very different.
Now, I have to figure out how to make this year, THIS YEAR, and not a mirror held up to last year.