Thursday, March 9, 2017
SoL Challenge Day #9
"On the first day of school, you are their teacher. Not me. This classroom is yours. Not mine. I hope I'm not scaring you too much."
I sat in Denise's classroom, tugging at the hem of my "teacher dress" and tried to look calm and receptive. I immediately appreciated her personality. She was loud, which meant I didn't have to be. She was also direct, which meant I could ask her questions and expect an honest answer. However, her proclamation of my place in the classroom sent my introvert sirens blazing.
Two days later I started student teaching. My voice shook as I read straight from the syllabus I had poured hours into. Fish-eyed freshmen tugged at and adjusted their own outfits, their eyes darting from the clock to one another.
Oof. This was brutal. Everything felt forced. Everything felt mechanical.
With my mentor teacher out of the room, she had given me space to work through this. With each week, my robotic movements became more fluid and my flat lined voice warmed. I learned their names and they learned my expectations.
The weeks went by, and Denise encouraged and comforted me as I navigated the sort of classroom experiences that can truly only be experienced to understand. She was honest, and in her honesty I was able to reflect and grow.
I know I owe her another letter soon, and that this doesn't even begin to break ice on the foundation she helped me set, but I carry our conversations with me and think about them often.
She reminds me that when I feel my fear of failure begin to bubble up, that it when it is most important to throw myself into whatever endeavor holds promise for growth.