Thursday, September 13, 2007

All the school's a stage

Last night, I went out for Happy Hour with a mix of old and new teachers at my school. (The Jewish new year is here, so we're off Thursday and Friday -- I don't get the impression we'd normally be out drinking on a Wednesday afternoon.)

Here are some of the things the veteran teachers told me about their own first years in teaching:
  • "I never cried so much in my life."
  • "I literally ran out of my classroom into the bathroom crying and wouldn't go back. I was like a child. Another teacher had to come into the bathroom and be like, 'You go back in there and take 'em!'"
  • "One of my kids threw all of the math books into the trash can. The guidance counselor found me in my classroom, sitting on the floor, crying, pulling all the books out of the trash."
And here is some of the advice they gave me:
  • "Just literally do not crack a smile."
  • "You really have to be like a drill sergeant."
  • "You have to be...I don't want to say mean, but you kind of do have to be mean, and that can be hard if it's not your personality."
There's an analogy out there that says that teaching is like acting. Now that I'm a teacher, I can certainly see why it fits: I have stage fright and I have to pretend to be someone I'm not. The only downfall is that in teaching, no one's feeding me my lines.

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