My stomach muscles are tensing.
I’m just lucky I didn’t get the nightmares this time around. You know. The first-day-of-school nightmares. When you’re a student, the nightmare might feature horrors such as forgetting to put on essentials like clothes. When you’re a teacher, it’s worse. You show up with nothing prepared. Nothing. No syllabus. No lesson plans. No curriculum. Just you with 50 minutes to fill and nothing to teach.
Or in my case, 80 minutes for each class. And I’ve got two different classes this time around, so that’s 160 minutes I’ve got to fill. I’ll try to be as funny as possible so that we can eat up a few seconds at a time with laughter, but really the biggest challenge of the first day is that they don’t know each other, so they’re not ready to raise their hands and risk saying anything. My teaching style leans a lot toward class discussions and away from lectures, so 80 minutes without student responses is a long time for me.
Generally I do some sort of get-to-know-you activity to compensate for that. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they’re just sort of pathetic. We’ll see how it goes tonight!
In the mean time, how do I make the anxiety go away? I’ve been teaching since January 2004, so if the first-day butterflies haven’t flown away by now, I’m thinking they might not ever. Darn it.