Perhaps being a teacher-candidate is one of the few opportunities in which a person can make a first impression twice. Last week, I was introduced to students as the stranger who would be observing, helping out in class, and, eventually, teaching lessons. Tomorrow morning I will actually teaching for the first time, and in so doing I will be establishing the type of educator that I will be for at least the first seven weeks of my fledgling teaching career.
I wonder if I have given enough thought to how I actually want to act when I step into the spotlight tomorrow morning. Will I be able to move away from the tentative feelings that I have experienced during my first week of my practicum? Can I bring the confident and flexible attitude that I had as a Music & Drama camp leader to the classroom? It was a love of camp and interactions with campers that helped foster my desire to teach.
I imagine that my first class tomorrow will be difficult but that the second will go more smoothly. At least one of my two lesson plans will probably be a bit of a flop, but this flop will also be my first opportunity to learn how to be a better educator the next time around. I feel ready though – I know most of the students’ names, I am familiar with the school, and I have solid lesson plans. I cannot quite remember the best way to manage a class of fifteen-year olds, but hopefully those skills will come back to me.
So what will my second beginning, my second first impression look like? It will be relaxed and confident, welcoming and excited, and have a healthy blend of camp counsellor and professional teacher. Just as the memories of being a high school student came flooding back when I stood up for the national anthem on the first day of my practicum, so will the joy of teaching, leading, and learning return when I pick up my piece of chalk tomorrow.
I remember that joy.
I’m ready. As the great MC Hammer said, “Ring the bell – school’s back in.”