It was hard to grasp the fact that this week was my LAST week in field, especially because I won't be going straight into student teaching. I miss the classroom already, my cooperating teacher, and all of the middle schoolers whose classes I'd taught and whose papers I had graded. I finally realized just how much I had connected with the students in my classroom. The students' responses to my last day varied...one girl didn't know it was my last day and had been planning to bake me a cake, one boy jokingly cheered (and then told me he'd miss me), another called "have fun in college...if that's possible" as he walked out the door.
This semester I felt like I found the perfect balance, connecting with my students but still maintaining authority in the classroom. For the first time I had a chance to experiment in the classroom, and I had a cooperating teacher that was able to stress the fact that "you don't need to teach it like me." She gave me the freedom to discover what my identity was in the classroom. I made mistakes, I learned from them, and even though I didn't see it happening, I grew as an educator. It's fantastic to be able to look back and realize that I wasn't nervous getting in front of my students, I finally reached the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the semester and I'm not really sure when it happened, just that at some point I reached the level of comfort in the classroom that I was hoping to attain.