I’m sitting here in my office right now, with about 15 minutes to go before I head on down to meet my first class of the term. For the first time in….well, ever….I actually feel pretty comfortable about my classes. I feel a bit nervous (which is always a good thing), but not panicked or terrified as I usually do.
Part of this, I’m sure, is because I’m teaching two classes that I (a) love to teach and (b) have taught 3-4 times apiece. Sure, I’m changing things up with assignments (both classes) and the order in which I’m covering the material (one class), but there is a certain level of comfort that comes with really knowing the material inside and out. Or, at least, having a strong sense of what you know cold and what you need to brush up on before the fact. There is also a certain amount of comfort that comes from knowing where the problematic areas for students will likely be, and planning in advance on addressing those issues.
But the other part is that, for the first time ever, I’m not under a microscope. No one is observing my teaching. These students will not be evaluating my teaching at some later date. I’ve handed in my tenure materials, and so in a sense I’m finally free to do exactly what I want to do in the classroom. And that is a feeling I’ve never had before. For the first time, I truly feel fully in control of my classroom, and free to be totally authentic in my teaching.
I’m not sure yet how I’ll use this freedom, but I do know that I am very, very excited for this term to begin!