As a teacher, one thing that I want my students to remember about me is that I truly cared about them. Every one of them. There is not one easy way to build this sense of family. I tend to not be the overly mushy-gushy type of person with my students. It's just not who I am. I don't change myself in the classroom, just as I would hope that they wouldn't change who they are for me. I treat my students the way I would treat my own if I had them. I hold each one of them to the same high standards and I expect each to at least meet, if not exceed these standards. Sliding by is not an option in my classroom. I want my students to be polite, kind, and responsible. I want them to love school and to want to succeed - not for me, but for themselves. I don't feel that having high standards means that we can't have a wonderful time in the classroom. I love my job and I feel this rubs off on my students. I am excited about the subjects I teach and in turn, they are excited to learn. I joke around with them and they know it's OK to joke around with me.
One way this year that we have been building that family is by reaching out to others. We meet regularly with Mrs. Shearin's class of students with special needs. We read with them and go outside to play with this group of students. My students love this opportunity to become teachers and friends to a group of students outside our classroom walls. The support and level of compassion I see them give each other never ceases to amaze me. My class has also been reaching out to the community around us by visiting Harbor Chase Senior Center. Working with adults who are significantly older than my students has really opened a lot of eyes in my classroom. We recently finished working on a project which required my students to interview the adults at Harbor Chase about how live has changed over the years. My students were so amazed at how life was different back in the 20s. (Below this post you can see a short version of the video the students created.) I love watching the interactions between the seniors and students. They learn more about life and sometimes even about themselves. These experiences might not make my students better test takers, but I am convinced that it will make them better people.
I have never been more proud of a group of students than of those in my class this year. Their character truly shines through every day. I hope that the things they learn in our classroom this year last a lifetime. I know that this will be true for me.
My name is Carrie Gaffney. Someone once asked me a question that remains in the back of my mind and helps to shape my life: "How will you be remarkable?" I am continuously trying to discover new ways to answer that question.