Where have I been for two weeks? I could say I was side-tracked when I chipped a molar, scheduled a temporary and now have a crown…lots of appointments. I could say it was the bronchitis that struck me down. I haven’t had bronchitis since teaching high school. I could say it was the wave of consulting work that has filled the month of January. What was it that kept me away?
I figured it out. I was terrified, again. With each new term I face a schedule of courses, some I have taught before, others on occasion are brand new. Usually, a new course is only limited to one in a term, but this term I face two! That means worlds of work. Lesson plans that will fill an hour and a half or two and a half hours twice a week. Materials to make. Tests to write. Students to not only meet but connect with.
Terrified, again? I always get stage fright the first day of classes. Not the paralyzing kind, still it’s stage fright, just the same. My colleagues do too, I know. I know because especially on that first day, in the office, as we gather up our roll around crates and packs, we wish each other “Have a good class.” or when we see a colleague return to the office, we ask “How did it go?” Why after so many years do I face this uncertainty? I’m confident about the material. I am prepared. But this term was a bit different. I was juggling more variables…my tooth, the bronchitis, a new schedule that has changed the rhythm of my days, a wave of consulting work and the nagging realization that I was neglecting all of you.
Perhaps just as bloggers and writers face writer’s block, teachers can experience an anxiousness of the unknown…I wouldn’t call it anxiety. I am anxious to get this show on the road. I am anxious to meet the new faces, learn the names and in some cases their stories. I want to learn those names and not confuse one student with another. I am anxious to find my rhythm with a new group with the added variable of new material. It’s one big block of not knowing.
Then, it happens. Thirty minutes into class it’s like I never left. Yes!
So if I’ve never left, where have I been? I’ve been facing the creative challenge of making classes a positive experience for each student in my teaching world. No, I don’t win them all, but I try to connect with as many as I can.
Then I visited some of you, read your wonderful posts and I felt “back on the road again.” Thank you, Willie, I hum to myself. And, yes, I even utter the simplest of prayers, “Thank you, God.” After my last post “Mending?”, you may have thought I had a pile to do.
Thank goodness for my Jeep. My little office on wheels holds a lot. Textbooks, workbooks, student work, clicker, timer, sticky notes, markers, scissors, stapler, pens and pencils. What my little office on wheels doesn’t hold: my “bag of tricks”, a smile, a passion to teach, the knowledge I can do it again and gratitude to be able to do it again.