Monday, August 18, 2008

Fears I Had Before Starting School

1) I will not be on time. I am chronically late to everything, including student teaching (and I got into a lot of trouble for it).

2) I’ll develop anxiety and become totally frozen and unable to work. My senior year of college I became “frozen” and unable to stand the thought of touching my Advanced Lab II lab manuals to write two lab reports. ALL the data was taken and the reports would be only 10-15 pages including graphs, but I took an Incomplete and put it off for so long that I started thinking about this class as “the one thing that is standing between me and my physics degree” which only churned up more anxiety. It took many hours with a counselor to realize that my old coping mechanism (Wait Till the Last Minute and then Use the Adrenaline of Panic to Finish Everything in an All-Nighter) was no longer useful – it had broken down. I slowly learned how to deal with responsibility without an adrenaline high, but it took a long time and an incredibly patient Advanced Lab professor. I still sometimes try to resort to that broken method when I am stressed and forget it doesn't work anymore.

3) I will not be on time. I will wake up after school has begun and my kids will be standing out in the hallway and I will be called into the principal’s office and fired. Fired fired fired.

4) My kids will hate me. I wasn’t able to relate well to high school kids the first time around, when I was a high school kid, so how presumptuous is it of me to assume I can this time around when we are in different generations? I don’t dress carefully, I don’t do my hair carefully, I don’t like sports, I don’t listen to the right music, and I’m a book-reading math-doing M*A*S*H-watching oldies-listening nerd. I know from my education classes and reading, the good ones and the almost-useless ones, that “building relationships is key to getting students involved.” It certainly can be done without that, but its easier when they feel a connection to you. Which means it sucks to be me.

5) I will not be on time. Fired fired fired. Fired.

6) I will fall behind on my grading – just like in student teaching. I will get “frozen” and get in trouble with parents and administrators and let down my students and be a bad role model for responsibility.

7) I will fall behind on taking attendance – just like in student teaching. And get in trouble with parents and administrators.

8) The kids will instinctively know that I’ve never done this before and I have no idea what I’m doing. They’ll have no respect for my authority and will show me their lack of respect and confidence by lying down on the floor and refusing to get up (I’ve heard a couple of horror stories about that. The first was on Blog of a Math Teacher, soon before he got fired. The other was from my mother, whose colleague at her community college came back after lasting only one week as a junior high school teacher.)

9) I will be a horrible teacher. By not preparing, I will resort to boring repetitive worksheets and drill-and-kill with no attempt to incorporate conceptual learning or critical thinking skills, and my kids will be worse off for my supposedly idealistic decision to become an inner-city school teacher.

10) I will get late and be fired.

1 comment:

simonjob said...

I can't answer all your fears, but I can have a go at number 4. I work with kids aged 12-16. I feared that my lack of interest in sport and the age difference would be a problem. But it hasn't been.

Even if you don't like [insert their favourite sport here] most kids will respect you because you respect them, give them your time and show interest in them. For many, that's more than they would get from adults at home (unfortunately).