Editor's Note: Today's post is written by Holli Dawson, a pre-service teacher from WSU.
Let me preface this post by explaining that I love storms: I love the way the moisture in the air clings to the inside of my nose, the way the sky darkens as swollen clouds rapidly consume what was a clear blue sky just minutes before. I get chills when those first droplets of water touch the ground and I can’t help but smile when the thunder booms and echoes through the sky and the lightning illuminates its surroundings, contrasting with the darkness.
I have always referred to the first week of classes as the calm before the storm. Sure, you feel a little overwhelmed on the first day and you probably already have some (read: tons of) assigned reading and writing, but the first week is the calmest week you will endure during the semester.
As the typical Kansas storm forms in mere minutes, the academic storm forms in just one week: the blink of an eye to the student who works, takes classes, and has a field placement.
It is with eager anticipation that I await the moment when classes are in full swing but I also equally appreciate the days building up to that moment: days like today.
Today was my second day at my placement. I was armed with a desk, two months’ worth of lesson plans, a new seating chart, and my tangled nerves, twisted into an uncomfortable knot in the pit of my stomach. Nerves aren’t all bad for me, in fact the extra energy (read: borderline anxiety) pushes me to put myself out there and do my best. As “my” students filled the classroom, the hair on my arms began to stand upright. I donned a brave smile, greeted each student over the blaring end-of-passing-period music, and directed them to the seating chart. Over the course of the class period I tried to match names with faces and then test myself by passing back papers. I failed my test miserably: miserably but with a smile. “This is the calm”, I thought to myself. This is the part where the darkness fills the sky and the water droplets begin to fall. I love the calm. I also love the storm.
I am the kind of person who likes to approach a problem, especially a challenge, head on. I am beyond excited to throw myself into teaching this class, bonding with these students, and absorbing everything I can from my CT while adding my own personal flair when appropriate. I am ready to try, succeed, fail, reflect, and try again.
As I adventure through this semester, I intend to find my teaching voice. It’s easy to put on a brave face when you’re teaching something that has already been created, reflected upon, and improved but when you are creating something on your own as a novice instructor and giving it to students it is something between judgement day and a cruel experiment (for me at least). Will my students understand what I’m trying to explain? Will they think this is too easy or too hard? Will they pick up on my silly puns? Is this the best way to present the information? I think that this is a necessary thought process for teachers before they present their students with new material but there comes a point when you have to trust yourself and your voice and give it a try. If it doesn’t work, you reflect and revise. My other goal for this semester is to include as many hands-on activities as possible. Getting students actively involved in the classroom is one of the best ways to get students directly involved with their learning; this makes the students responsible for their own education.
Bring on the storm!
Ms. (Holli) Dawson
Holli Dawson is a secondary English teacher education candidate at Wichita State University, under the direction of Dr. Katherine Cramer. Holli is currently completing her Core III pre-student teaching experience at a high school in Wichita Public Schools, USD 259.
Re-blogged, with kind permission from: http://msdawson42.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-calm-before-storm.html