I’d planned on a p*ssed off last day of school blog, but a co-worker said, “Why dredge that up again?” So, in honor of Olaf (and his love of summer and warm hugs) I let it go.

I’m taking class about 90 minutes south of my home, so during May and June, I’m totally geeking out listening to the “West Wing Weekly” podcast. This hosted by Joshua Molina (joined the show as Will Bailey ) and Hrishikesh Hirway (a musician, composer, and “political junkie”). They are reviewing each episode of the show, adding in their own experiences, their thoughts, and a lot of tomfoolery as well. If you are (or could be) a fan of the show, I highly recommend it!

Now, anyone who knows The Wing Wing knows this is the catch phrase of the entire show, “What’s next?” As I think about the school year that was, there are positives:

  • A basketball team that played out of its mind and won 27 games against teams from all sizes around the state, and did so with a grace and style that I wish all our teams could have.
  • Our schedule, while tight, gave us a chance to work with all 7th and 8th graders at some point. I think that’s a huge positive in regaining that middle school philosophy.
  • Our reward days all went off very well. I was surprised how well our cooking day went as we had many students who commented about how much they enjoyed that opportunity.
  • Students grew, whether they want to admit it or not.

We could dwell on the fact that there were some pretty ugly negatives that went on during this school year, but in the words of President Bartlett: “What’s next?”

  • How do we challenge this group to be better than they were in 7th grade?
  • In what ways can we make our time more meaningful to students?
  • Personally, how can I continue to push growth in reading/language arts when I have a class of 50 minutes to do both?
  • And finally, how do we continue to stress learning over grades as we dig further into standards based grading?

So, what’s next? Plently, for sure.

I had this last class twice, once as 6th graders and last year. I told them this before, and I truly believe it: they have the ability to do great things IF they can keep away from the peer pressures that will come. Our school has a large population of kids who drink, and if they can keep away from that, I look forward to the awesome things they’ll do.

On the flip side, if they succumb to the pressure (like sadly some of them have all ready), the positives will be diminished and the negative amplified.

As a teacher, we can only do so much, but in the end, it’s the choices our students make that will create success or failure.

So, students, if you are reading this, we all believe in you. Now, believe in yourself and all the good you have to offer, and make it happen.