Friday, September 05, 2008

Teaching While Anxious

OK, I know I've been a bad blogger. Really, I know. These first two weeks of classes have been a bit on the crazy side, mostly because of my anxieties. I'm writing journal entries with my Methods I class, so I'm using one of those entries as my blog catch-up.


I've been feeling this semester (already, in the first two weeks) a sense of anxiety about my classes, my teaching, my students. I'm not sure where this comes from. It could be a normal part of the fall semester, as I enculturate a new group of students into my way of teaching. They are (or many of them are) making a transition -- several transitions, really. From their English classes (largely lecture/discussion) to my methods classes (collaborative, constructivist). From being a student (passive) to being a teacher (active). so some of it could be happening every fall, and I just don't remember it from last year. But then again, perhaps my students last year were so wonderful that it didn't happen.

Or perhaps I have just gone too far down the constructivist highway. I hate seeing certain students looking as if being in my class is painful, something like a dentist appointment. May they are just cranky!

Then again, perhaps I am experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety, because of Slogger's health issues. Overall, I'm feeling more anxiety in my life these days, which can be brought up very easily by the slightest thing. For example, I just walked over to the Education building and back, and as I was walking back I realized that the shows I have on today (brown leather Clark's) were the same shoes I wore almost every day during the 2 weeks Slogger was in the hospital. Just that thought sent a cramping sensation to my stomach and an unwelcome feeling of anxiety and dread. I coudl very well be carrying this into my classroom.

Another possibility is that now that I have received the big university-wide teaching award, I feel the pressure has heightened for me to perform well as a teacher. this is a self-induced torture, however, as I don't believe that many -- or possibly any! -- of my students are aware of the award.

So where to go from here. Let it go (picture me sweeping my hands over my head -- this is a gesture of release for me). Let it go. Take deep breaths before, during, and after class. Slow down. Focus on course goals. Make it concrete when it feels too fuzzy. Refer to future assignments. Realize that none of it affects me in any material way, because I HAVE tenure, I've BEEN promoted and I RECEIVED that teaching award. Ha! So there.


Brigindo said...

You've been through a major trauma and it is bound to leave an impact, so feeling anxiety in everyday life is not that surprising. I also think (but don't know since I'm not there yet) that getting tenure does strange things to your psyche and that it probably takes a year or so to get used to it and back into your academic skin, if that makes any sense.

As for cranky students...yeah sometimes a whole cohort can be infected.

Anonymous said...

Hey girlfriend,
Good to see you! Life will work its way out. Life comes in waves just like Gustav or Hanna but there will be a calm after the big waves. We just learn to surf or dive :)
You are an awesome instructor and those kids will get it! Nanc