Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Make the first two minutes go away

So, the first microteaching trial is done.  This was one that I wish wasn't going to touch my handicap.  Overall, it was a comedy of errors that left me fighting for recovery.
  1. That disc that we were supposed to bring to record the session ... the only thing that I forgot
  2. That 15+ minute lesson plan that I had crafted ... cut down to 10 minutes because
  3. I misread the clock and didn't realize that we were running so far behind as a group
  4. The hours that I spent converting a technology based presentation to a non-tech version ... wasted as it was actually possible to get a projector
  5. Trying to present a grade 10 topic to 5th year university students ... watch the activity timing shrink
Thank goodness my adviser was quite charitable with her marking as I felt nowhere close to the mark that I received.  I know that I overprepared the lesson.  I know that the working space was a challenge.  And I know that forgetting the disc was the ideal way to shake my feeling of calm ... but even without these influences, how do you get through the first couple minutes of a class without nerves.

I'm a relatively shy fellow, so I feed off of nervous energy to help energize my presentations.  I'm also a fairly relaxed fellow so high energy states aren't my standard state of being.  As such, I haven't yet learned how to harness that energy ahead of time to the point where I can control it and gauge the appropriate amount.  After a couple of minutes, I get into the flow and my patter takes over and can feed off of that well of energy that I have waiting in the back wings.  But for the first couple of minutes, I've pulled a cork out of Mt Vesuvius and I'm desperately hoping that the flimsy "please be kind to Pompeii" sign that I'm holding up can actually steer the lava flow.

I love the material that I'll be teaching, whether it will be math or history, and desperately want to communicate that joy to my students.  I realize that not everybody will see the excitement of Roman History, but I'd really like to infect a few of the fence sitters along the way.  And I also know that my semblance of nerves won't help the matter since nervous teacher => anxious class.  I enjoy talking in front of people, I just have to find a way to control the energy within me when everybody focuses their attention on me.  And I recognize that much of this will come with time, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression ... and I'd rather not have my shaky impression colour me permanently.  But for now, Wile E Coyote has stepped off the cliff, and is holding up his 'HELP!' sign.

1 comment:

  1. How do you get through the first few minutes of a class without nerves? I don't think you do. A very experienced teacher recently told me that she still gets the first day jitters along with the students every new school year. So, maybe the nerves will subside, but probably not vanish. And I bet you did alot better than you are giving yourself credit for.