Everything I Didn’t Do
Last year my calculus students worked on creative projects at the end of the term. They submitted videos, podcasts, and art projects related to their favorite topics from the year. Two students wrote and hosted an integration bee. Another baked and decorated a four-layer “Washers Method” cake. We didn’t do that this year.
My geometry students wrote short papers on their favorite topics at the end of last year. They built interactive Geogebra demonstrations to accompany those papers. We didn’t do that, either.
With just a few weeks left in the school year the overwhelming feeling is relief. I’ve made it. I wasn’t sure I would. At the start of the year I often felt like a first-year teacher. I wasn’t sure I could do my job at all, much less at the level I expect. Just making it to this point is an accomplishment.
But the end of the school year is a time for reflection, and it’s hard not to look back and see everything I didn’t do. I didn’t have my students write enough, or take as many photographs, or experiment with computing. These are staples of my classroom, but in a year where just covering the curriculum was a cause for celebration, I simply didn’t have the time or energy or opportunity to get us there.
It’s unusual for me to feel this much regret at the end of the year. But it’s been an unusual year. Thankfully, the end of the school year is also a time to look ahead. And although new challenges certainly lie ahead of us next fall, I’ll be excited to face them.