Feb. 28th, 2011

katernater: (castle • (midtown))
A lousy night of sleep progressed into, mostly, an okay day. It's week eight of a nine week term, which means that I am very nearly done with my first semester of teaching. I feel pretty good about everything at this point; I take pride in being a laid back, adaptable kind of person (an absolute necessity in this job) and I think I've been able to handle myself very well so far. Even so-called "crisis moments" don't really faze me as much as I thought they would. This morning, for example, I had prepared to do a combined class with one of my mentor teachers. We talked about a rough outline for the class on Friday, but it was understood that it was pretty much his show; I was just going to follow along and provide support where I was needed. (Which led me to exclaim, "Woo hoo! Free day!" in my head -- the kiss of death, certainly.) Ten minutes before class this morning I was told that my mentor teacher was sick and would not be coming in. I took about five seconds to panic (and plot the nearest route to a fire exit) before I kicked myself back into gear: I totally had this. My mentor teacher wasn't there, but there was absolutely no reason why I couldn't take on both classes and proceed with the planned activity myself. So that's what I did. And you know what? It worked. I probably didn't do it exactly to my mentor teacher's specifications and I'm sure that there are things I will change for future classes, but I think I did pretty well on my own, considering.

There's a necessary "no fear" attitude involved in teaching, I've discovered. So much of what I do on a day-to-day basis is entirely dependent on the individual needs of the students, so planning ahead -- while helpful -- is never the be-all, end-all for what's going to happen in a given class period. I have discovered in myself an incredible capacity to be receptive to change, to embrace uncertainty, and to be able to roll with the punches -- however fast and loose they might fly.

And that's a total 180 from where I was ten years ago or, hell, even three years ago. It used to be that when I came up against a situation that felt out of my control, I shut down or retreated (or both). I pushed the problem out of my way out of a fear of confrontation, or the possibility that I might get hurt or be disappointed. Now I have people -- students -- to whom I am accountable, and whose short-term welfare I am somewhat responsible for. That's really made me wake up "deal" with things in a more pro-active way. I think that this job -- and moving here and being on my own -- has made me brave. More so (and in an entirely new way) than I have ever been before. It's cool to know that there are still things about myself that I have yet to discover.

That's funny: I started out this post with every intention of ranting about not getting enough sleep/feeling cranky, but I think I just "well-adjusted" myself out of it. Yay, grown-up skills!

Still no cable, which means no Castle or House for me until Hulu posts them tomorrow. House I think I can handle, but waiting for Castle is going to be a monumental effort in patience. Graaar.

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December 2011

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