As another school year draws to a close I always like to look back and reflect on the year. For me this was an especially difficult and trying to school year. The students that I worked with although rewarding, were often challenging and testing me in many ways I had not been tested before. However, as I sit here I ask myself and wonder if I did enough. Did I do enough to help these kids be better then they were when they walked in my room in the fall?
Not so long ago I had a conversation with a good friend who said you can't help every kid so why do you try to help all of them. The reality is he is correct. If I look at the hundred or so students I teach every year, I can't help each and every single one. Some of the students I will not be able to connect with or help in any sort of significant way. Some of these kids come in with so much baggage and learned behavior from home environments or ingrained home cultures, that I don't stand a chance. If I'm being an optimist, I might say half of my kids are better off than they were when they walked in my room in the fall. But as I told my friend I don't know which half that's going to be or which have it is even after the school year is over.
I will never truly know the impact I have on a kid. That is why we as teachers can never give up on a kid. Or in this case, give up on a group of kids like a class that may be difficult or challenging. The time we invest is never wasted because we never know which kid it's going to help. In some cases we will never truly know our impact and it's because of that unknown that we have to do our best and try our hardest for every kid. If we give up on a kid or give up on a group, we don't know which ones we could have helped. As I told my friend, we have to try to help them all because we don't know which one it will click for.
As the school your draws to a close I made sure to reach out to each and every one of my students. I told them either verbally or in writing, in some cases, how much that meant to me. I thanked them for working and learning with me this year. I also set for some goals for them personally and academically and told them I will be checking up on them as they move into next year. While I may never know the impact I had the group of students I had this year, I feel like I gave everything I had and I hope it was enough for at least some of them.