Sometime in early 2000, I had the opportunity to teach communication subjects to junior college students in a private school. Despite the fact that I, myself, am a product of a Catholic institution and that I am a communication graduate, I found myself feeling nervous during my first few weeks as an instructor.
I suppose it was because of the fact that I wasn’t (at the time) accustomed to speaking in front of 40 or so people. I didn’t know what it was like to get and keep the attention of students. Yes, I knew my material backwards and forwards, but how do you make that interesting to class participants between the ages of 19 and 20?
It was challenging! On top of reviewing my class syllabus, I had to learn what it was like to be a teenager all over again! An example? I convinced myself to read teen and fashion magazines . . . which I stopped doing when I was their age.
Oh, what a headache it was at the time! Eventually, though, my students got used to me and my quirks (I was never as fashionable as they were, and I always addressed them by their last name.), and I, to theirs. Case in point: I had a student who ‘slept in class,’ and I thought she was being disrespectful. It turned out, she said she would rather stay in my class and nod off than hang out elsewhere in the campus.
The first three months or so in school were rocky for me. Aside from the fact that I had to adjust to my students, I had to learn the ins and outs of being a part of a school system. But I stuck it out. Not only because I signed a contract, but because I genuinely liked what I was doing: molding minds and convincing students of the usefulness of the subject I volunteered to teach. And they seemed to appreciate the effort because somewhere along the way, they started becoming more receptive and interactive in class.
Honestly, I never thought I’d make it through one semester when I was an instructor back then, but because I enjoyed my experience that much, I decided to teach for another semester (this time to freshmen) before I resigned and went back to being a corporate employee.
My take-away: I think having some sort of a ‘mission’ and being passionate about your work help you hurdle obstacles and show you what you’re truly capable of doing!
p.s. Hats-off to teachers everywhere: for showing what they’re capable of despite the challenges of the profession and for showing students that they are capable of being so much more!