Anticipation, trepidation, and outright terror. Those were some of the mindsets that I had while preparing to become a teacher. There was also, enthusiasm, optimism, and passion. All of those initial emotions, and a plethora of additional ones have stuck with me in some measure (some more than others) as I've continued my career.
When I was a pre-service teacher I had a ton of conflicting emotions. I was equal parts eager and anxious to actually get into a classroom to see if I'd actually be able to stand in front of a group of 25 to 30 students and try to make them learn something. I was proud of the career, lifestyle, and even professional path that I'd set myself upon, but I felt intimidated by "real" teachers who had their own classrooms, and I also felt like because I hadn't done it yet that I shouldn't feel too proud. I remember my intense desire for content and pedagogy knowledge, while despairing about what I didn't yet know.
But then, you're a student teacher in a classroom and you're petrified, but you stand in front of 28 15-year-olds anyway. You ask them a question, and it's silent. SILENT. We are talking church, grave, pin-drop quiet Those few seconds of wait time (of which you should give them at least 7) seems like an eternity; more than enough time to ponder whether or not you've made the right decision for your career and life in general. But before you can seriously contemplate putting in an application to Truckmasters Truck Driving Academy or enlisting in the Army, students raise their hands and answer your question. After that you feel like you can do it. You mess things up. You learn. You get better. You get confident. You really mess something up. You learn more. You finish the semester. You graduate. You get a real job. You get your own classroom. And that's where the real learning begins.
The beginning of the year is an exciting time. New students. New teachers. New problems, New opportunities. New perspectives. In the interest of perspective, it's important, from time to time, to look back and reflect how far we've come. It's just as important is to look towards the future as well.
So, at the beginning of the year, we will take a look at the thoughts of people who are at the beginning of their careers. For some of us, it will be a look towards the past, while for others it will be a look towards the future. I'm calling it "The Pre-Service Perspective." For the next week we will get that perspective from people who probably have many of those same thoughts and emotions swirling around as they embark upon their own exciting, terrifying, and exhilarating journeys in our profession.