Last night marked another “first” in my life. After the student presentations were completed and the clock struck 8:15, I ended my first class as an instructor!
Like most firsts, the experience was highly anticipated, awkward at times, exciting at others and a little bit of a disappointment.
I come from a line of educators. I dreamed of teaching a class since I decided to earn my MBA, so I built up this idea of myself in this role. It was like dreaming of your first kiss. You think about it and dream about it so much you can almost feel the brush of lips against yours… Or you can almost see students hanging from your every word. (Same thing, right?)
The anticipation is so strong, it’s a distraction. Initially, I was worried about being the hip, young instructor. I wanted to be respected and adored. But, being the new teacher that I was, I made a fool of myself once or twice. It’s not unlike your first high school dance. After showing your “best” move, it can only get better!
I had glimpses of the success I had previously envisioned. There were classes when students engaged and answered thoughtfully, days when you could see the connections being made. It was exciting in the way it was exciting to drive solo for the first time. Exhilarating and, yet, very scary.
After all the excitement, anxiety, time and energy, I was left feeling disappointed. I’m not disappointed in them or what they accomplished. I’m disappointed in myself.
I wanted more for my students.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20. There are any number of ways I can improve my class. I’m looking forward to implementing some of those changes this summer. But I’ll never have another first semester of teaching.
It’s like looking back on your first love. While in the relationship, all you could see were the flaws in the other person, but now? Now you see yourself more clearly. You see what you could have done, or what you should have said. You see what should have happened. And you wonder, if only…
Trust me, I have some “if only” thoughts about my class, but I’m ok with that. I’m growing and learning. I’m listening and adapting my lectures.
Next semester will be better because of the issues with disrespect. I will be better for it.
Next semester will be better because of all the “sensitive feedback,” otherwise know as whining.
Next semester will be better because of each student in my class.
We all have a few first time experiences we would rather forget. This class wasn’t one of them for me.
I teach undergraduates this summer. I’m looking forward to my class where I will undoubtedly embarrass myself because that’s what I do. My goal is to implement changes that will decrease my disappointment in my performance, and increase my feelings of satisfaction.
It’s going to be a good semester! And hey, it’s my first time teaching undergrad!
Every new teacher should approach his/her first class with “the dream” securely in place, however unwitting he/she might be of the sirens of reality lurking just ahead. Sounds like you have weathered a few storms, and the good ship is still afloat. And now you have seen the sirens first hand! Good job, Daughter.