Each and every teacher has qualms going into the first days (or even weeks!) of teaching. Drawn from personal experiences and stories of acquaintances, this chapter takes a look at what we, as teachers in the writing classroom, can do to overcome those feelings of being a fish out of water. It is extremely beneficial simply to know that we are not alone!
The important first step is to recognize the fear we have and then to acknowledge it. That will help, in turn, as we establish our emotions in reaction to our students and their emotions in reaction to us. Next, we must find a way to act on those reactions. This is where something frustrating becomes something fruitful, something affronting becomes an analytical look into the whys and wherefores of the class structure. It is channeling these negative emotions into something that positively benefits and drives the class as a whole that is the key to stepping into the role of teacher. There must be a balance of looking inwardly at our emotions and then outwardly regenerating them. When this equilibrium is achieved, the result is a more open and honest mode of communication with the students, as it allows us to be ourselves and dispatch any feelings that we might be having.