Today my students and I said goodbye to my amazing student teacher, and there were lots of hugs (and autographs! HA!) being handed out as everybody left at the end of the day. Sara was a tremendously important part of our classroom, and while I hope she finds a job, I also hope that she continues to be part of our class through her space on our blog, subbing, and some visits and volunteering.
Things are going to change dramatically in my classroom. After three months of sharing responsibilities and splitting up the jobs everything will be back on my shoulders. I'll admit there is a bit of that "first day of school" excitement in my tummy to be in the classroom all by myself - it's a fresh start. At the same time I can't help being sad because not only have I been a mentor during this time, but I have also learned so much.
One of the biggest things I learned was how to really listen and ask good questions. I won't lie, this was a big part of my Connected Coaches course, but working with Sara allowed me to practice those skills in a real life relationship. She asked me fabulous questions which forced me to reflect upon why I did things in my classroom and why those things were the best for kids. She also asked me questions which helped me practice listening, paraphrasing and asking questions back. I really tried not to always give her the answer - I forced her to think about what she would do and then do it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it bombed, but in every situation we both learned from the experience and were able to improve what we were doing for the kids in our class.
And yes - it's be OUR class. She was an important part of our family and a wonderful teammate, and we will all miss her.