An Ex-Elementary Teacher

I have officially completed the last day of my first year teaching high school English (grades 10-12) and yearbook (I taught elementary for four years prior), and I have to say I like the older kids a lot more. This year wasn't exactly easy- I've been called a bitch, dealt with a depressing amount of apathy, had to explain to several teenage boys what sexual harassment is (there's a line, gentlemen, and I'm on the other side of it), spent weekends editing yearbook pages, and learned that assigning lots of work means then having to grade a lot of work.

But, personally, I feel a greater sense of reward after working with these older kids now at the end of the year. I helped many pass the high school exit exam, have been told by a few students that before my class they had never actually finished a book before (this may be ass-kissing, but I don't care), and have actually been thanked in candy bars for writing letters of recommendations. Don't misunderstand me- elementary teachers give kids so much, and help them in so many ways but for me, personally, I feel like I made more of a difference this year.

Teaching high school also fits my personality better. I'm not a super-nurturing, maternal person, so when ten-year-old Erica came to me crying because little Juan threw a pencil at him and called him a wiener I wanted to laugh or tell her to throw it back. Or, when Jesse felt the need for a bandaid because of his 0.22 mm of blood on his arm I told him he might actually need it amputated (okay I only did that once, and the kid thought it was funny). I don't do crying, whining, puke, or tattling. Glitter, paint, and singing are not things I find fun. Patiently explaining that a paragraph is different from a sentence is something I struggle with. And I really don't care if your mom wrote a note excusing your lack of homework- try doing that to the credit card companies when you can't pay your bills later in life. So yeah, working with older kids is easier for me. They understand sarcasm, borderline appreciate my humor, and know that they need to leave the classroom if something gross is about to come out of their bodies. Oh kids, it's not you- it's me. Mrs. S is just not a patient lady.

Next year I'm set to keep teaching yearbook and mainly sophomore English, so I'm excited. But for now, I'm looking forward to the summer (well, after six days of training).

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