This week has passed in waves; I have experienced highs of feeling very confident, and lows of feeling very lost and defeated. Mostly, I’ve found that I feel anxious when I am out of the classroom. When I am in the office lesson planning (aka struggling with the questions of what on Earth to teach and where on Earth to start), I am overwhelmed with self-doubt.
When I am in the classroom, I am a teacher. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
But really, to my students I am a teacher. They do not know I’ve never done this before. I wonder how many times I was the naive student, furiously scribbling down notes from the unseasoned teacher who had no idea what nonsense he or she was spewing. While I have not loved every teacher that I have ever had, I have always respected them. But wow, after this first week of teaching I have to say it: teachers do not get nearly enough credit.
I’m not going to lie: this week was hard. Monday started off easy enough with some introductory lessons, and Tuesday followed suit. But, as Wednesday loomed, I grew increasingly concerned; with introductions over, I had five classes that I needed to teach something (anything!) to. Floundering, I reached out to an old high school English teacher of mine for some advice and possible lesson ideas. He wrote me back almost immediately, saying he would put together some useful materials for me; he closed the email with, “Don’t worry. I won’t let you drown.” Relief, sweet relief.
This is just one example of the many extraordinary educators I have been blessed with during my many years as a student. Individuals whom, despite years of disconnection, take the time to help me when called upon. These are the individuals who shaped me, and who I wish to emulate during my own teaching journey. I am carefully considering the presence I want to be for my students as I head into Week 2.
Originally published on November 12, 2017 on CIEE Teach Abroad Thailand.