Reflections on Teaching

Teaching two classes back-to-back two weeks ago was an experience I won’t soon forget. Before my first class, a level of panic set in that I had never experienced before. I couldn’t believe it–I have taught over a dozen sessions and still I get so nervous! Before my first class, I was looking for a way out. I can’t do this, I thought, they’ll hate me, they’ll rebel, my head will end up on a stick outside Gorgas as a warning to other librarians–“bore us and you will pay!”

I found Brett Spencer and, sweating, I confided my nervousness to him. I told him “I don’t know what I will do!” and mopped my brow for the 10th time. Brett promised to stay and watch my session for moral support, and I was grateful. As soon as I started talking, though, I calmed down and stopped sweating. I went on with the session, implementing my ‘active learning’ lesson plan. I designed two active learning activities for the students to complete, thinking that lecturing less and putting the learning into the hands of the students would lead to more engaging sessions. I was half-right: the session went better this way, but I forgot to ask the students to pair up and talk about what they thought. I wish I had done this, because I believe that when students get to speak with one another, they become even more engaged. 

Overall, I am proud that I overcame my nerves and delivered instructional sessions with clear goals and multiple active learning exercises. While working individually with the students, I noticed they were implementing what I had taught them, which was satisfying to see. I still would like to get over my nerves so I can focus exclusively on teaching during the sessions. I may never get completely there, but I am working on it. 

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