Um, about that whole confident thing…

I think I was nuts earlier. I’m SO not confident! I am SO not relaxed! What made me think I could do this job? I have a Monday morning class of only first-year students and I only just realized that I could be the very first college instructor that these students ever have. Ever. Suddenly, I don’t care that I have an 11 page syllabus and a plagiarism contract and a detailed schedule for the first three weeks of the class – I am clearly not prepared to get up in front of a room full of 28 first-year students and become this thing… this horrible, terrible wielder of all academic power … this, this… Professor.

10 responses to “Um, about that whole confident thing…

  1. Panicking the weekend before class is a perfectly reasonable–and professorial!–response. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and I still have insomnia and stomach sickness before classes start. And folks who have been doing this for over 20 years tell me the same thing. We’ve decided there’s something very useful in this panick, since it provides an adrenaline rush that’s quite helpful in getting over the hump of the first meeting with students.

    Speaking of which…given that you may be the students’ first professor ever, I’d include in your first-day spiel how to read a syllabus, because they’ve probably never seen one before. In particular, they need an explanation that the reading listed next to a particular date is what they should have read *by* that date and is not in fact that night’s homework for the *next* date.

    Good luck tomorrow!!

  2. Pilgrim/Heretic

    And don’t forget – they’re way more scared than you are. 🙂

    I love having classes of only first-years, since my surveys are usually a mix of first-years and graduating seniors who forgot one of their core requirements until the absolute last minute. If they’re all beginners, you can walk them through all the basics and build everything from the ground up.

    You have a big advantage in being a ‘newbie’ yourself, in that it’s easier for you to imagine walking into this college and not knowing already where everything is and how it works. Remember once in a while to try to see things (especially assignments and exams) through their eyes. They’ll be terrified that you’ll assume they know things that they don’t know yet, and they’ll be deeply relieved if you acknowledge their newness and help them get everything off to a good start.

    You’ll be a great first prof for them to have. Good luck and enjoy!!

  3. Good luck tomorrow. I am sure it will go well. I agree with Whatnow?—Tension can be a useful energy that doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying your students and your class. Cannot wait to read your first post-class blog. Remember to breath and smile!

  4. My advice…just imagine that every student in the room you are teaching are completely naked!…who’s laughing now..Just some sage advice from the muppet that drums in his basement in tucson.

  5. I get nervous, too! And I’ve taught in some way or another since I was 22. It just means you want to do a good job. 🙂 How great that you have first years! They will be eager and ready to go. Best wishes tomorrow morning.

  6. Stewgad, You’ll be great. First-years are so much more forgiving than cynical super seniors (which I usually get a lot of in public speaking–high avoidance rate!) Enjoy yourself and have fun with it–Wishing you a WONDERFUL Monday morning!!!

  7. The PhD Explosion

    Just coming in late to add my good wishes for a good day today. You will be great. All the advice above is sound, and the best part is – it will be over quicker than you imagined.

    Let us know how it goes.

  8. Hope your first day’s going well. I’m sure you’re doing just fine. One nice thing is that they’ll assume whatever you do or say is perfectly normal and expected. So there’s no pressure at all.

  9. Best wishes to you on your first day!

  10. Be sure to come back and tell us how it went ….

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