Going into my 16th year of consecutive schooling, one may think that I have it all figured out. I mean, most people probably have it figured out by now, right?
I can’t believe that I am a senior in college at times. “How did I make it this far?” I often ask myself. I mean, I’ve thought about getting up and walking out every time the first day comes around and I’m asked to share with the entire class “one FUN fact about me!” Sometimes I want to respond, “one fun fact about me is that I hate talking to crowds, yet I somehow want to be a teacher,” or even, “one fun fact about me is that I’d rather stub all ten of my toes on cinder blocks than be talking to this crowd right now.” I guess the best thing about being an Education major, is that now I at least expect it. Not saying that it prepares my-awkward-self any more than if I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m trying to focus on the positives.
All joking aside, I do enjoy school for the most part. There are things that I don’t agree with (Gen. Ed. classes, am I right?), but getting to learn about educating others is really fascinating to me. Sometimes I feel like a little sponge soaking up all the knowledge that comes my way — although sponges eventually begin to stink and no one wants to touch them .. bad joke? Yeah.. welcome to the many “fun” things about me. Luckily I don’t willingly show the awkward me in class.. willingly..
So, I get to class on my first day, already overwhelmed (because college thinks it’s fun to assign stuff on the first day, yay), and I start mentally preparing myself for what’s to come. I’m thinking “okay… one fun fact about me.. what can I say?” and my brain, being as fantastic as it is, responds with “say you’ve traveled abroad this Summer!” **
**Insert — I have never traveled abroad in my life. While it may be a life-goal, it certainly hasn’t happened yet.
I mean, I just wanted to sound interesting! But, I panicked. I didn’t want to look like a fool on my first day! “Okay, you got this. Just say you love to read!” — which is totally true. I do love to read. However, I’m the weirdo who hasn’t kept up with current reading trends, and has been reading Psychology textbooks and books over psychological disorders. By this time, though, I’m 30 minutes into class, so I just go with it. “My hobby is reading.” I say, hoping for no probing. Much to my dismay, there was definite probing. “Oh, yeah?” my college professor responded, “any specific genre?” To which I responded, “Psychology! But not like the genre Psychology, like Psychology textbooks and reading about disorders and stuff!” Immediately I thought to myself, “wait, isn’t that what the genre of ‘Psychology’ would consist of?” (as I slowly covered my beet-red face of shame) “……. oh! I watch this thing while working out called “Unsolved Mysteries, and it really freaks me out sometimes,” she responded. Poor thing didn’t know how to respond to the level of awkward that is my “fun fact.” I was mentally slapping myself in the face — I mean, I’d been pumping myself up to say something cool like my classmates. You know, like the “I love snowboarding,” or “I’ve been swimming with sharks before” type answers that every. single. person seems to have.
And then, both my first and second day, I hear my favorite phrase ever, “you will be presenting to the class.” Like, okay. I know I’m a little awkward.. do I really need to prove it to the entire student body of education majors?
So, here I am tonight, wondering what my future students may think of me. The teacher that makes bad jokes, and laughs at them. The teacher that says awkward things and 9/10 times follows up with “nah, I’m just kidding.” The teacher who makes silly mistakes and sometimes jumbles up the first letter of two words, like “clue bup” when trying to say “blue cup.”
Hopefully they will remember me as the teacher who strives to give them the best me, and the one who tries not to take life too seriously. Hopefully they will remember me as the teacher who gets upset with herself, because she just wants to make sure she’s reaching them. Hopefully they will remember to embrace the mistakes and mess-ups that we sometimes have in life, they make for awesome lessons, and even better stories.
Maybe they’ll remember me as the one who gives them every ounce of my awkward being, simply because I believe in them.. even if that means they get to laugh at my daily antics.
Sometimes I look around and see my classmates who seemingly have it all together, and it’s easy to feel down about who I am. When these times come, I am reminded of a quote that one of my professors once shared with me, “You can only make a difference by being different.”
“You can only make a difference by being different.”
So, do I have this school thing down? No. Will I have the teaching thing down? Nope, not always; but, I’m trying to learn to embrace the silly things I say and do, because that doesn’t mean I can’t still reach my students and make a positive difference in their lives.
Leave a comment down below and let me know how your first day of school went! I’d love to hear your stories.