Last night, I slept rather fitfully, and this morning, I work up with anxiety, manifested in an upset stomach and a general feeling of unease.
Oh yes, it must be the first day of a new quarter. No matter how many times I have taught before, the first day of a new quarter/semester always has me a bundle of nerves. And it doesn’t matter how prepared I am or how confident I feel in the class I am teaching, I am still a mess that first day.
But I made it through my classes, knees knocking (I’m convinced podiums were invented to hide this) .
It was a great first day. I love looking at all the excited and nervous students. Granted, some student despise having to take a GE writing or argumentative writing course (the two classes I usually teach at the university), but I make it my personal mission to convince these students how incredibly important writing is not just in college, but in the “real” world as well.
There is such a sense of anticipation throughout the halls. It’s a new beginning for these new students. Perhaps they did poorly last quarter; now they have a chance to redeem themselves. Perhaps they have a particularity difficult course load; now is the time for them to prove themselves. Whatever the case, there is an almost electric energy as I walk through the halls.
After I finish going through the syllabus, outlining what my course will entail, and answering any questions, the students leave the classroom. I usually take a moment to just stay in the room, as it is quiet and calm for a brief minute
I think of the opportunity I have to teach these students a valuable skill and to empower them with their own words and thoughts. I feel important–if only for a brief minute.
I am so thankful for the opportunity the first day of the quarter brings. I feel energized, enthusiastic, and really believe–if only for 11 short weeks–that I can really make a difference in these students’ education. It’s an enlightening moment.