For someone who is new to teaching, the entire experience can be pretty intimidating. After taking a week long training session, preparing my Powerpoints, and reviewing my rosters, the time had come for me to step into my classroom. I took a deep breath and kept repeating my own little mantra, “fake it till you make it.” I put on 90’s alternative music in hopes of alleviating some of the first day awkwardness. As students trickled in I pretended to be busy, shuffling around papers, refreshing my email every few seconds, and
occasionally looking up and smiling. Once the door had shut, everything appeared to fall into place.
Words flowed fluidly out of my mouth and a few students even laughed at my jokes, something I now realize is rare on the first of the semester. I wrapped up a few moments early and the students quickly made their way out of the small classroom.
As the semester progressed, I got better and better at getting my students involved in discussions. They began talking more within their small groups, answering questions without hesitation when I posed them, and even began initiating small talk with me before the class began. My goal before the semester had begun was to make my class as enjoyable for the students as possible. I wanted it to be a class that they didn’t dread and didn’t feel like they were stuck doing busy work for. From my SPOT evals, I think I achieved that.
While going through the assigned readings for Contemporary Pedagogy, the question “what kind of educational experiences change lives?” kept popping back into my mind. I started to think about the classes that I enjoyed during my undergrad and what they all had in common. To my own surprise, a majority of them were writing intensive (something I don’t typically enjoy) and as most writing intensive classes are, they were relatively small in size. But that wasn’t what I liked most about the courses. What I remembered specifically was how much I enjoyed those classes because of my professors. Their teaching styles first and foremost were founded on mutual respective, they were almost always available to meet on and off campus, and they taught us about life and not just the material. I enjoyed going to those classes because it was a safe place to share ideas and opinions, openly discussing different views and perspectives without fear of judgment. My favorite professors were humans with flaws, senses of humor, and kindness within their hearts. That’s the type of teacher and leader I want to be. I want to make an impact.
But how does one go about making an impact? According to Tim Hitchcock, the best way to go about making an impact is by expanding your audience via social media platforms like Twitter and blogging. My immediate reaction to this is “oh no, I’m not really into Twitter and blogging is a hobby I just never seem to be able to commit to.” I don’t know if this is due to a lack of confidence in my writing ability or if I just never seem to be able to think of something interesting enough to really put out there. Most likely a combination of both. Though I am a little reluctant to this mandatory blogging, I’m hoping this course will help to alleviate some of that disinclination. I guess we’ll see.