Summer is winding down at an alarming rate. In just over one month I’ll be standing in front of six sections of students as one of their teachers for the 2013-2014 school year.
I’m not sure I can articulate the jumble of emotions. I feel both prepared and unprepared at the same time. I quickly switch from “bring it on” to “Oh, heavens, give me another year. Maybe two.” I know I can make it through the first day, but I mostly worry about the incessant crush of things to do, the unrelenting pace, all the unknown land mines that await me as the year moves through its’ natural paces.
My methods teacher, a beacon of stability and confidence, always said, “Just because you are nervous doesn’t mean you’re not ready.” I cling to those words with a a fierce hope. A hope that I am ready. Not only ready to teach but ready to try, to fail, to get back up time and time again.
In many ways I do feel more ready to fail. And, surprisingly, this helps me feel ready to teach. For the first time in my life failure means “growth” and “possibility” instead of “the final harbinger of eminent doom.” Believe it or not, this is major progress.
I am trying to breathe in the excitement that comes with the fear. I’m trying to parse out these two emotions that, at the moment, feel desperately twined. I need to feel the rush of possibility, of accomplishment. That’s sustaining in a time that is steeped in uncertainty.
I’ve spent the summer relaxing and preparing. This is my third class of the year. I’ve now spent 4 weeks in various professional development courses, and I have two more to go. I’m always the sole new teacher. I feel lucky to be steeped in so much experience and expertise. At the same time I exposed to all the dark sides of the teaching profession, sides that I tend to fixate on if given the chance.
Already I hold on to my students, to the memories of their smiles, their hope, their curiosity and even defiance. I surprised myself with how much I appreciated them, and I continue to surprise myself with how much I lean on the inspiration they gave me.
In many ways they provide the impetus to be the best possible teacher I can be. And I thank them for that, from the very apex of my heart.