Overcoming Fears

There are many things about teaching that make me nervous as a beginner. Such as teacher evaluations, classroom management, and making sure to create a comfortable and inclusive learning environment where students respond well to each lesson. Will I respond correctly to teachable moments? Will the classroom feel like a community of learners? Will I be able to successfully balance work and personal life? Will I budget well?  I know with preparation and practice, that these things can be resolved though, and will get easier over time.

At the moment, these are not the fears about teaching that I fear the most. My biggest fear is students and fellow faculty not respecting me due to my young age. Perhaps this is because age is something I can not change, but ticks away on a consistent clock of it’s own. I will graduate from the program when I am 24, and proceed to find a job directly after. I currently run into many instances where people in my every day life are surprised by my age. I can manage these situations though, because it usually takes a quick explanation, smart conversation, or drink choice at dinner to remind them I am an adult. This is hard to convey to a classroom of high school students though, because perceived age difference is usually an automatic tool teachers have to gain respect from students (at least initially).

Respect from faculty also worries me, because I do not want teachers to feel like they can ask me to do mundane tasks or art projects, not relating to student learning or art just because I am new and young. I agree with Sara, in her saying that “if it is not student art work, then I would not put it up.” I think this is an appropriate response to discourage other teachers from asking for my students classroom supplies, or disrespect my time by assuming I have less to do than them and can work on projects for them. I will have a curriculum I go by just as they do. I will be happy to collaborate for the benefit of the students, but not if the projects take away from them developing skills through art.

As a forever-learner, I know practice will make almost-perfect. To overcome these fears, I will prepare my lessons in advance, and learn to say “No.” I do not need to get distracted by everything going on outside of my classroom in the school, and spread myself too thin (especially in my first few years of teaching). I need to be confident in myself, and my abilities, because these feelings will be more powerful in gaining student respect than in telling them they need to do so.

Despite all of these feelings and thoughts, I am extremely excited to get into the classroom setting, and I look forward to how much I will learn. I just need to assure myself by taking a deep breath and saying everything will be okay!

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