The First Day of Class

The First Day of Class

The first day of school is always a little nerve-wracking. It’s a very basic fear of the unknown mixed with the desire to do well. From the first day of kindergarten to first day of college, it’s always felt the same for me. The first day of teaching is a whole different kind of nervous.  

Today was my first day of teaching this semester. It’s my third semester teaching at Columbia. Even more, it’s my second teaching Writing and Rhetoric II. I only had to update my syllabus to apply what I learned the first time I taught the course. And yet, last night, I found it difficult to fall asleep because I was nervous! What would my students be like? Was I ready? Will my students engage with the readings I have prepared?

The day before class, and you know you’re not alone!

The first day of class came, and my worries were allayed. The students were kind and receptive. They started off shy and opened up slowly as the class went on. They kindly laughed at a few of my syllabus jokes. (Syllabus jokes are probably the funniest jokes…) Already, I feel as though I can get a feel for how the semester will go. This class seems shyer than previous ones. Every class is different, and I’ve found that so far, the beauty of teaching is that you’re always learning! It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

As I perused Facebook, I read a bunch of statuses from classmates who are starting their semesters of teaching, so I thought I would include a few of our experiences:

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Dirk Marple, Second Year Non-Fiction: The conversations that come out of the class are the most exciting. Teaching, for me, is allowing for a space where the students can bring their own creativity and imagination into the environment. It’s seeing what comes out of that, and how the conversations develop and change over the course of the semester.
What were you most nervous about when you started teaching?
DM: I suppose there’s a tendency to be anxious about all the things you don’t know, about questions students might ask that you don’t have answers to.

What do you like most about teaching?
Najm Haq- 2nd Year Fiction: The ability to pass on lessons to students and to simultaneously learn from them. AKA, make them my X-Men.
What do you find is the biggest difficulty with teaching?
NH: As much as I feel comfortable meeting people and having discussions, there is always that insecurity of “am I doing good enough by them?,” “do I deserve their respect?,” “are they learning enough?”

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
David Roncskevitz- 2nd Year Fiction: I like seeing a student smile when they are inspired. It’s a very specific smile.
What were you most nervous about when you started teaching?
DR: I was nervous, I wasn’t ready.

Any thoughts you want to share about teaching?
Jamiece Adams- 2nd Year Fiction: Hmm it’s worth its weight in gold? JK, not entirely. Besides I’m always impressed by how thoughtful and supportive students can be to each other.