I survived week one! Though I will say, it hasn’t gotten that hard yet. This week has mostly been learning and spending time in sessions about classroom management, lesson planning, literacy, diversity, etc. As of Tuesday morning however, there will be about 1000 students in the hallways and classrooms of my school, and I will have to start introducing myself as Ms. Wenell (I’m still deciding between Miss and Ms).
It all became much more real today as we got our rosters. Currently, I have a list of 23 names that will be in my classroom come Tuesday morning though that number could increase or decrease drastically by the end of next week. I’m thankful its only 23 because some people have rosters with 47 students and so I am expecting some changing of numbers (note there are only 30 desks in most rooms). I’ve had a range of feelings today towards the idea of students coming. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I’m also excited. There is a lot of anxiousness and probably will be until I’m finished with my first lesson.
I’m not concerned about my ability to teach. I really do believe that’s something I will learn with time. I’m not concerned about presenting in front of people; being on stage is an environment I am usually fairly comfortable with. I’m much more concerned with being able to gain respect from my students. Quite frankly in today’s society if I was a black 14 yr old male, I wouldn’t respect me. Let’s be honest here, the common ground I share with my students is pretty much limited to the fact that I was once in high school too. I’m not a minority race. I don’t come from anything that looks like they do, low income or not, I didn’t even grown up in an urban environment. And well I was never even close to being a student that anyone was pushing remedial summer school on. Even more honestly, when I was 14 I hardly respected the new or student teachers that did look like me and come from similar backgrounds (this is where I feel a little guilty and wish I could apologize to one or two teachers). I believe its possible, but I’m also very honest with myself that it will not come easily.
There’s also a slight, probably irrational, fear that I will end up in one of the horror story classrooms where I feel like my physical safety is in danger. BUT don’t worry, there are metal detectors, and I made sure to memorize the code to call security from any classroom phone. Obviously I’ve had training on managing a classroom by now and not too many people consider me to come off as a pushover. I definitely stay grounded in the fact that most people in TFA don’t look like their students, and the program still has incredible success statistics. I do feel confident that the strategies I’ve been given can work, and I know better than to walk into my classroom with visible fear. Still, there will probably always be a few irrational ones…