With only a few weeks left in the school year, first-year teacher Staci Nix could use another cup of coffee to get through her mornings.
But as her first year wraps up, she now knows her role in the classroom and is seeing the results of her efforts.
“It’s just fun right now,” Nix said. “We’ve made it to the end of the year and (the students are) excited about showing what all they’ve learned.”
Right now her first-grade class is doing end-of-year assessments to measure how much information has been retained since last fall.
From reading levels to writing skills to math proficiency, her students have come a long way.
And, Nix said, the students are surprised at the progress they have made.
“They’re showing me what they’ve been practicing all year,” she said. “They get excited about that.”
As a teacher, Nix said that keeps her going and motivated to finish the year strong.
“It’s rewarding to see how far they’ve come since the beginning of the year,” said Nix.
The last couple of weeks, however, are bittersweet as summer marks the start of a welcomed break but the end of the relationships Nix and her students have built.
“I would totally go with these kids (to the next grade),” Nix said. “They know me and I know them, and now I’m going to have to get a whole new group and relearn how they tick and how they work.
“Each kid learns differently, and in this class I finally figured that out.”
Sammy Hartman, one of Nix’s first-graders, said she wishes Nix could be her teacher next year, too.
“She’s very nice,” Sammy said. “We do fun stuff in Ms. Nix’s class.”
But Sammy said she and her classmates are ready for the summer to be here — and Nix kind of is too.
“(Summer is) there,” Nix said. “They can taste it.”
Until then, the next two weeks will be review for the students coupled with field trips and school events, like the Spring International Festival, happening this week.
“The next two weeks are not really normal,” Nix said. “But we’re still teaching.”
And, according to her students, she is pretty good at teaching.
“She’s a good teacher,” said Jack Nelson, one of Nix’s first-graders. “She always teaches us good things and we always do fun activities.”
Nix is more relaxed heading into the end of the year, but she said though the next two weeks are different, they’re not less important.
“It’s the end of the year, but I still have tons of stuff to do,” she said. “But I don’t feel far behind. I know I’m going to get there.”
Her students appreciate the hard work.
Jack had just one thing to say to Nix.
“Thank you for teaching me,” he said.