I can feel the rush and fuss, the nervousness and anxiety that my classrooms will be filled with tomorrow. I love the start of the semester. I absolutely love taking command of a classroom, allowing my students to be free to be who they are, and giving them the space to explore who they are for a full sixteen weeks. I also love allowing them to see that writing is not scary. I love showing them that they can do it; writing is a part of life, and we do it everyday whether we know it or not. Giving them their words, their truths, and their power through the written word is what thrills me the most. Those moments that they get it…aaaah. I love those moments more than I should.
But that won’t happen tomorrow. Nope. Tomorrow, they will come into the classroom, nervously shifting their notebooks and pens (provided they have them). Checking their phones. Talking with old friends. Checking out new friends. And I will walk in, looking like one of them due to amazing genes. Standing in front of them, I will begin. And there will be syllabus talk, getting to know you talk, and this is what I expect talk. Questions. Any? No? Not yet? Ok, you have time. Get your books. Yes, we are reading Orange is the New Black. Yes, the same as the show. Maybe we can watch some of the show later. We have a lot of time.
But, we don’t have a lot of time. It may feel like it, but before we all know it, it will be week 13 and final paper prep will be in high gear. We will have read a book, watched a documentary on a local war hero gone too soon, and talked about our own choices. We will have learned and grown, lost members for sure, but we will have done it all together. They will have celebrated. complained. discussed, and digested. And then? A month or so after that, I will do it all again with different classes, for another 16 week session. Isn’t that great!?
I don’t get nervous the first day. I have not been nervous one time, and I suppose I could be allowed to be this time around as I am teaching something totally new, in a new way with new materials… But I don’t get nervous. I get excited. For myself. For them. For this wonderful (though underpaid and overworked) opportunity to touch lives and illuminate students to the importance and power of language and writing. I may not make a difference to some of them, but to a few, I could make all the difference in the world. And that is why I walk in with my head held high, making them comfortable while pushing them outside of their comfort zones. Be not afraid. Don’t worry, I’m not.
They’ve got everything they need to succeed. They just need me to show this to them.
And it never feels like work. I’m having far too much fun for it to feel like a job.
If you do what you love everyday for a living,
You won’t work a day in your life.
Writing and teaching writing are my passions…
And I can’t wait to see how many minds and souls I can open this semester….