There’s a certain adrenaline rush when you’re in front of a new class. New teachers will be better acquainted with it than old ones. They will probably mislabel it fear, but that isn’t a reason to distrust their descriptions. I am pretty sure we all understand the connection between fear and adrenaline.
I don’t get that feeling often these days. I’ve got lots of teaching under my belt. I’ve taught monolingual classrooms and multilingual classrooms. I’ve taught children as young as 4 and adults well into their 80’s. I’ve taught them all: the stubborn and the fidgety, the bold and the loud, the quiet and the shy, the excited and the terrified. I am still shy, but I find a way to channel that into things. These days, I can get up in front of a crowd and talk to lots of people.
You’ll notice that I wrote that I don’t get that feeling of fear/adrenaline often, but I didn’t proclaim to never get it. Sometimes, there are unique teaching situations which provoke that response. There are some teaching situations that force me back to this place of adrenaline rush.
That I might choose this as Today’s Perfect Moment shouldn’t be a complete surprise. The snow is gone, but I haven’t been out on my bike yet. If I am not getting that intense feeling by risking my life on slopes or steeply curved roads, I am going to have to find it someplace else.
In today’s case, that place was an adult (over 30) elementary class with a few problem students. Today was my first day with them, but I had been warned that day before that several people were already rocking the boat. They had had their first class the day before with a young (new) qualified teacher who probably obsessed over every second of her seamless lesson plan. How would they react to a grizzled veteran whose lesson plan wouldn’t fully take shape until after the introduction were made?
I wasn’t concerned, but I knew that the stakes were a little higher than normal. These classes provide some of the most negative criticism in the whole school. In the end, it all worked out pretty well. The lesson plan worked and nobody broke down and cried. The class didn’t provide that huge adrenaline rush, but there were some moments that got the heartbeat up a little. A blank stare of total incomprehension can do that to you.