I swear, this will be my last post about my event.
So it’s two days out, and I’m feeling really positively about my big even at school. I want to write about it, because I feel like it would be easy to look back on it and remember only how much work it required, and how exhausted I was at the end of it.
For the past two days I’ve asked my kids to tell me what they enjoyed about the day and to give me one recommendation of how to do it better (if I ever do it again). The responses have been very positive; the kids clearly enjoyed the day, and even their recommendations were respectful, and even grateful. I feel better about this 6th grade class than I have all year, and I do think the festival will cast a positive light on all our interactions for the rest of the school year. I created something for them and we shared it, and they seem to be genuinely appreciative. That is really all I could ask for.
The staff has also blown me away with their congratulations and praise. Every single person who participated (and many who did not) have taken the time to say something to me in person or via email. They all thought the event was very well organized and very fun and interesting for the students. They loved seeing the kids participate so enthusiastically, and were proud of being a part of something so unique and fun.
And honestly, I’ve been nothing but grateful for the support I received. My administrators have been so generous and understanding, giving me basically everything I asked for. The teachers were equally as giving of their time and they were super flexible about facilitating activities that they knew nothing about before hand.
Right before the big event, I was feeling pretty down about my job. We voted to abolish the block schedule we were trying this year. Without a FLEX period we had planned for (that was impossible for various reasons), the block periods were too long and the administration determined it was not working for both students and teachers. I was totally bummed (and actually put forth a considerable amount of effort pushing for a third option that the administration wanted to embrace, but that ultimately was postponed until next year), and in the wake of the decision I plunged deep into that dark place I was in at the end of last year, feeling nothing but doom when it came to the school year ahead.
This was right when I was hitting on the wall on preparing for the festival. My 6th graders were giving me a lot of grief and I was sure they were going to grumble through the whole day I was working so hard to prepare. Working on both campuses was feeling so burdensome, and I just generally hated my schedule. I was just done, and to have the one thing I felt positively about (the block schedule) be taken away, felt like the last straw. I was despondent for 2-3 days. I just didn’t see how I was going to make it through the year.
Then the festival happened and I’ve felt a renewed appreciation for my school, my staff and even my students. Not only do I feel really good about myself, for everything I accomplished (I’ve been realizing in the days after the festival that no one else has ever organized such a big event all by him or herself, usually a grade level or content area team will work together, but no one else has put on something like this alone), but I’m so grateful that I work at a school where an event like this is not just tolerated, but supported and even celebrated. I really am proud of myself, and I’m trying to revel in that feeling, but I’m just as proud of my school, staff and administrators. And I needed to feel good about my work almost more than I needed to feel good about myself.
So there you go. The Day of the Dead festival ended up being 100% worth it, and I’m so glad I took it on. Sometimes it really is worthwhile to challenge yourself.