You know when you start running and must make a conscious decision to set a solid pace at the forefront of the race in order to endure the length and duration? Okay maybe it isn’t a race, but the treadmill counts on this too. It’s always the beginning that makes a difference in the end. If you go too fast, you might not have the energy or breathing capacity to finish out the run. If you go too slow, you won’t ever make it. OR if you have the wrong running shoes on, the wrong attire, and haven’t warmed up, you definitely aren’t crossing the finish line in one piece. There’s combinations to setting the right pace at the start.
So, does pace make a difference in the classroom when it comes to student teaching? Absolutely in my opinion. And for the most part, I think that the University has constructed placements in such a way that allows for a smooth transition into the full role of teaching. However, transitioning isn’t always how it’s planned and I felt that in FULL on Monday.
I spent the first nine weeks in an atmosphere of belonging. The pace had been set–I worked my way into the role of teacher with guidance and assurance. I was absorbed with children that had an authentic love for life and a community of teachers that truly cared about their students and each other. I guess, so to speak, I felt safe. When Monday rolled around, the new school, new teacher, and new students created this entirely new feeling of (un)belonging. The pace seemed chaotic like trying to work out your muscles without a warm-up–too loose and all over the place. And I didn’t feel like I had a captain pushing me through the first few days and making me feel part of the team.
The pace that first day was so uncomfortable. The anxiety and overwhelming reminder that eight weeks can be a long time absorbed my endurance initially. BUT. One big but. I’ve been an athlete my whole life…and I can take the pace that’s been set and change it. Yes, I felt thrown into a race I wasn’t prepared for. Yes, I felt like the guidelines were too out of control for me. And yes, I did feel like crying Monday night in class and quite frankly I did have a huge meltdown when I got home. The next morning, however, I walked into my new placement with intentionality. The next eight weeks were not going to be ones of survival but endurance.
One lap done. Seven more to go.