It’s the end of the semester again. I love being in the classroom, but it’s very stressful to be in the classroom. For a class session to go successfully I have to be on my toes, on full alert, and not miss a teachable moment. While I may look relaxed (I try to look relaxed), in my mind I’m deeply aware of how precious that time in class with the students can be, how meaningful it can be. And I don’t want to lose opportunities.
Someone once compared teaching to acting (in terms of theatre). I go into the classroom with a script in my head. The tricky thing is that usually I’m the only one with the full, clear script. Even though my general philosophy towards teaching includes being transparent with my teaching process, I realize that I’m supposed to guide my students through this script I have in my head (that may not be so clear to the other “actors”). I rarely just lecture in class, but try to facilitate and scaffold a learning experience. Allowing disorder and sometimes even chaos is to open up opportunities for exciting learning to happen. So, navigating that even as I have the end goal (course objectives) in mind… that can be an exhilarating but it can also be high-intensity stress.
So, as much as I enjoy being in the classroom, the day after my last classes ended, I woke up… feeling a little more free. Of course, in just a few weeks, I’ll want to be back in the classroom, but for now, I’m grateful for the break.