Today is August 9th, a day that I didn’t think would arrive when I was stuck in the storming stages of weeks 3 and 4. As we’re in our classrooms for the last day, without any students, without any decorations on the walls, scrambling madly to get the campus cleaned before our “Last Supper” as a faculty, I can’t help but reflect on where we started and where we are now at the end. I remember driving from San Diego airport where I flew into to San Juan Capistrano midday on Friday, June 15th, (a day and a half late for training), nervous beyond belief. Not knowing anyone who would be at my site, and not knowing anything about San Juan Capistrano (except that the town is famous for its migrating swallows) I truly had no idea what was in store for me. That day seems to have occurred years ago, yet at the same time this summer has flown by quicker than any summer I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Our faculty has gone from 15 individuals, to a cohesive, productive functioning unit that is truly made up of 60 (students included). The learning I have taken from this program surpasses all expectations I held when I applied in January. At times I feel selfish because I think this program, this faculty and these students have given me so much more than I have given them or could ever give them. Not only have I received so many lessons about education and classroom management and teaching strategies, but I have been given the ultimate gift from my students; they have validated the past two years of college for me, they have assured my that my dream of being a teacher still rings true and I am on the right path, pursuing the right goals. I hope that my students have taken something from my classroom and our time together. Perhaps they won’t remember all of Newton’s Laws, or the composition of the planets, but if they take away with them a slightly more intense passion and love of learning I will consider my summer a success, and my efforts worthwhile.
Endings are always sad, but from this experience I don’t leave with just a heavy heart; I leave with optimism for so many of our student’s futures, and I leave with unwavering belief in the assured successes of my fellow teachers in all their future endeavors and pursuits.