Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fresh faces

I met my new students for the first class of the Spring semester last night. I'm less nervous as the years go by, but it still makes me pretty anxious. I don't think I'll ever forget the way my knees shook the first time I faced a group of students ten years or so ago. It's not that bad anymore, but I teach semi-adults now. I think a group of 6th graders, like that first class years ago, would have that effect on most anyone.

One plus for me as a college instructor is that I get a new crop of students every few months. Just when we begin to get tired of one another and have each other figured out - the semester ends!

For all the nerves involved in the first class meeting, I have a good time with it. I get to pretend that I'm very strict and likely to be a difficult teacher - for a few hours anyway. They see through that act pretty quickly in the weeks to come.

They seem like they'll be an interesting class. There's a few culinary school students, and a dance major, and a girl in the automotive program. All of them claim to be good readers, but hate reading, and most couldn't name the last book they'd read.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A gentle, but late reminder to anyone planning to submit a photo for this week's Good Planets on Saturday. Please email to me at lc-hardy AT comcast DOT net sometime tomorrow. Thanks.


Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
NatureWoman said...

Wow - they couldn't remember the last book they read? Not even a textbook?
Oh yes, how well I remember getting tired of my profs - unfortunately I had some of them again and again, and yet again. By the time I was done with school I had had enough of them. But now I hang out with them again, as friends.
I hope you have a great semester!

NatureWoman said...

BTW - I love your sunflower!

Mary said...

Laura, I've only known you for a few months but I'll bet you are a very popular and respected teacher - inspiring and fair. I hope you enjoy of the mix of talents you have this semester. Sounds like a diverse and interesting group!

I worked with veteran teachers and department chairs at the high school who had been teaching for 30+ years and they always felt anxious before the first homeroom period or class :)

Lynne said...

It does sound like an interesting group this time around. I just can't immagine not remembering the last book I've read. I need to read.

KGMom said...

Congrats on getting through first class jitters. How well I know the feeling.
Just remember, you know more than they do, and what they know that you don't--you get to learn from them!
That's the best part of teaching--learning while teaching.

Rurality said...

What do you teach? You've probably mentioned it before and I just missed it.

robin andrea said...

You remind me of my first time before a new class. I taught Freshman English for one semester nearly twenty years ago. I remember being amazed-- looking at those faces and realizing that they were going to at least try to listen to what I was about to say. They were writing words down as they came out of my mouth. It seemed daunting, but I made it. I started out the way you do, talking like I was going to be strict and demanding, which of course I never was! I think any student who winds up in your class is one very lucky student.

Sandy said...

Laura, your blog is color coordinated today!
It does sound like an interesting group.
Who decides what the class reads?

Liza Lee Miller said...

Hey, anyone who isn't knocking their knees together while facing a classroom of 6th graders isn't paying attention -- nor are they giving the 6th graders the respect they deserve.

I have been extremely grateful that our school district changed the junior high to a middle school and brought in the 6th graders. Our campus is much quieter, calmer, and more pleasant in general. Middle Schoolers are a force unto themselves.

Floridacracker said...

I'm laughing with Liza's comment (not at it :)
because at our middle school, we were just saying, "these 6th graders really belong in elementary school, they are so much more immature than the 7th graders."

I hope your new class goes great. Teaching is so rewarding.

Pam in Tucson said...

I've done a lot of tutoring and mentoring, but teaching classes terrified me. I admire anyone who can teach. I hope this semester is fun and rewarding for you. I'd love to have you as a teacher.

Liza Lee Miller said...

Laugh! Poor 6th graders . . . no one wants them! :)

LauraHinNJ said...

Naturewoman: I only teach one course, so the only ones I have twice are the ones I flunk.

Mary: Thanks for saying nice things - not sure all my students would agree, but some would.

Jitters are normal I guess - the thing is you never know what you'll get - some classes are wonderful and others are just bombs.

Lynne: They're just not readers. They will barely read for their schoolwork.

KGMom: I have to correct you - I'm supposed to know more than they do. Some nights that's doubtful.

Rurality: I teach a college reading and study skills class. Students end up in the course because they've failed the college's basic skills test. In real life I'm a Spanish teacher, but haven't done that for a few years. I also taught elementary school for a very short time.

Robin Andrea: Thanks for the smile. That kind of thing happens to me fairly often - I find myself standing there in the front of the room and wonder how in the world I ended up there. Never in my wildest imagination, you know?

Sandy: I decide - I'm the teacher! Within reason anyway. We have certain skills to work on and I choose the materials - in this course we do mostly newspaper/magazine/textbook type reading, but I also like to do a novel. Last semester we read *the five people you meet in heaven* - but I'm not using that again. I decided to go back to *the kite runner*. It's hard to fit the novel in, but I think it's worth it to find the time.

Liza: 6th grade boys are the reason I left elementary-level teaching. Enough said!

FC: See comment above.

I ended every day near tears with those kids. Middle school teachers should be sainted, IMO.

Pam: I love working with students one on one as a tutor - miss doing that! I did some mentoring years ago to get some experience - great experience.

Liza: As individuals they may be okay, but put them in a group with a (pretend) authority figure and watch out. They'd dream up new ways to torture me at every turn. Awful little buggers!