I’m taking six classes this semester. I realized recently that I have not really told you about my classes, and that oversight may be rectified soon, but suffice it to say that there are six classes. Three of these classes pertain specifically to my major; for nine hours a week, I sit in a classroom while drab grey clouds scurry across the February sky, and I learn how to be a teacher.
I love those classes.
The other three classes, a history class, writing class, and an in-depth study of the Gospel of John, are all highly interesting classes. I study for them, read for them, attend them, and enjoy them. But they’re not education classes.
The advisor of the Elementary Education department teaches two of my classes. She’s a wise and experienced woman, who taught for various years in local Christian schools before becoming a professor. Her passion for teaching, and for training future teachers, is manifested in a wealth of knowledge about teaching methods, practices, and studies, and it’s a wonderful experience to learn to teach from a teacher that I so respect.
She said one day, quite early in the semester, that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a teacher. And this professor didn’t just say it’s okay; she teaches strong and authoritative, with sharp, gentle eyes that see a classroom well, and she kept talking. I’d rather you be overwhelmed now than be overwhelmed when Teacher is your official title, and you have a classroom with desks, and students to go with.
It’s better to be overwhelmed now, and learn as a result, than overwhelmed later, when the stakes are so much higher.
I was relieved to hear her words; I’ve been known to have moments wherein I marvel at my own audacity: Become a teacher? How could I possibly? I’ll never learn everything that I need to know in order to teach well. That’s Impossible. Becoming a teacher is already hard, overwhelming, stressful, and I’m not yet halfway through my studies. I’ll never make it.
But there’s a purpose to this occasionally-overwhelming load: we’re learning how to be teachers. And I made a chart of all my assignments for the rest of the semester, and there’s a touch of anxiety brewing inside, for things that aren’t due until April. But I know why we’re doing this, and reading chapters on developing lesson plans and discipline in the classroom, and teaching students with disabilities, sometimes is rather overwhelming. But how much better to be overwhelmed now than later.
And how exciting to become a teacher.