Going into a high school classroom for the first time in 15 years is a huge culture shock. Anybody who knows me knows that my language is reminiscent of a sailor who stubs is toe and bumps his head at the same time. Funny thing, administrators seem to think that this is not a good way to talk to high school kids. Not that this was a problem for me, but it was brought up in conversations I’ve had with administrators.
I’m teaching World History and Geography (tenth grade), and Economics (twelfth grade). I know, not the most glamorous subjects, but both are very important. More importantly, both are important to do well at. Many of my readers can still remember both of these classes clearly. They were boring. They sucked. I don’t want to suck.
Not that my school put any pressure on me: My host teachers told me their philosophy was to hit the ground running. They believe the only way to learn is to do. First day of class means first day teaching. Also, I am teaching at a school that I attended. If I haven’t mentioned before, I was not always the best student, or even the best behaved student. I remember how bad I was. Turns out, many of my former teachers remember too (oops!).
There is something to be learned from this experience: My goal, in addition to passing my class, is to have them look at me as a strong candidate for a permanent position. To this end, I have to be on top of my game ALL THE TIME! Mistakes are going to be made, no matter what. I have to learn from those mistakes quickly and erase the memory of them as quickly as possible.
At a teacher meeting for my school, much was made about a student teacher from last year who was so awesome that she was hired over many other, more experienced teachers who applied for the job. In fact, one of my host teachers was also her host teacher. He was very impressed with her. He outlined briefly what made her so awesome in his eyes: She had a connection with the students as soon as she was put in front of them, and she followed his program about one day behind one of his other classes. I don’t think copying her will be sufficient to impress the school enough to want to hire me.
I have some weakness to overcome as well: I am an extremely likable guy, once I get over the initial meeting, and before people get to know me very well. I’ve been told that I seem intense and intimidating because I generally know what I’m talking about. Once people know me, I’m a quiet, soft-spoken guy, and truth be told, I think I’m a little boring.
So, do I have what it takes to be the next Golden Child? Who knows. Today was only the first day of class. I’m sure by the end of the Semester I will be a competent teacher. I’m setting a goal of being a competent teacher by next week.
Since one of my classes is Econ, be prepared to see some of my lectures from class appear on these pages. I plan on teaching information that is important for young people to know. I can’t think of a better place to hold some of that information than right here, in plain view.