Having very few good teachers growing up, I wasn’t inspired by any one teacher. Sure, I had some teachers that took the time to connect with me. My sixth grade Language Arts teacher inspired me to read while my English teacher in high school inspired me to write. My college English professor encouraged me to pursue my writing further, which I did. My wanting to become a teacher came in working with a student. My ability to connect with younger students is what drove me towards the teaching profession. I found something I was good at and went with it. Today teaching isn’t my job, it’s my life, my passion. I teach because I love making students smile when they overcome adversity and understand a new concept or skill. I teach for the students, our future.
On the last day of formal classes, I tend to get a bit sentimental. Another year done, another group of sixth graders moving on. While some challenged me to be more patient than I’ve ever been, I will miss them all dearly. It was a great year in the classroom filled with memorable moments. Our amazing field trips and other fun endeavors helped keep things interesting throughout the past nine months.
However, a big highlight for me was my Science curriculum this year. The major changes I made to the class and the individualization of the curriculum helped make this year’s sixth grade science offering the best it has ever been. The students were challenged and supported while also inspired to think beyond themselves. In reflecting on the year, most of the students cited Science class as one of their favorites due to the teaching methods. The students liked that it was very independent and individualized. Because I crafted each Unit based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of teaching, I was able to provide the students with different and unique learning opportunities as they demonstrated their ability to meet the various Learning Targets throughout each Unit. Thanks to the expertise of a mentor teacher, Steve Harris, who utilized a very similar flipped-esque model in the classroom and explained his pedagogy to me last year, I was able to grow as an educator this year and inspire my students to do something about the problems facing our world.
While this year seemed to fly by, it didn’t really feel like it was close to being over until today. As each period ended, the students came to me with their “Thanks for teaching me this year, Mr. Holt” and “I’m going to miss sixth grade.” That’s when it dawned on me. It’s over. While we have some fun activities planned for the students next week, formal classes and instruction are done. It’s over. Wow. As the students shared their final thoughts with us today, I realized, that each and every one of my sixth graders grew so much as individuals and learners this year. They challenged themselves, they questioned the world around them, and they shook things up a bit. The world is in their hands and I feel pretty good about this group of young men taking over the reigns in a few years. They’re ready.
I teach because someone needs to help prepare for the future. If I don’t do my part to help our future generations realize the gravity of what lies ahead, then I will have no one to blame but myself when the world ends in 50 years or so. I teach for them.