The last day of school for my students is tomorrow. This school year ends my 21st year of teaching. Argh! I just can't believe it! Where did all the time go? And most importantly, how did I get so old? But even as I obsess about my age, I wonder the same thing I wonder every year: what exactly did my students learn from me that they will carry with them? I mean, I know they learned reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, but did they learn the REALLY important lessons that I hoped to teach them. So here are the important life lessons that I hope my students learned from me . . . in no particular order:
*Treat others the way you want to be treated.
*Try, try, and try again . . . and then if you don't get it, ask for help.
*Be a positive and productive member of your community.
*People make mistakes--the important thing is to learn from them.
*The work products you produce reflect your work ethic.
*Work out problems with people by talking to them instead of about them.
*Look at someone's inside instead of their outside.
*Special needs people deserve more compassion, patience, and love because they cannot help the circumstances they were born with.
*Actions have consequences.
*Own up to your behavior.
*Honesty will get you farther in than lies.
*Use your time wisely.
*Don't waste materials--appreciate what you have.
*People will give you more respect if you use polite words like Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and I'm Sorry.
*You will not like everyone, but you have to be able to work with them.
*We are all different, and that's okay.
Finally, I wonder about how my students will remember me. Will they say, "Ms. Parker was the best teacher I ever had!" or will they say "Ms. Parker was my favorite teacher of all time!" or will they say "Ms. Parker was a tough teacher but I learned the most from her". And you know what? Any one of those statements would be okay with me.