Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Today is my 18th first day of school as a teacher. Add to that 4 years of college, and 13 years of K-12, and one of preschool, if you want to count that too...and this is my 36th "first day" of school.

I still love school. I still love to teach.

It still terrifies me.

Oh, I know, I know...I'm a good teacher. I've been doing this a while, and I know my content, and I'm confident enough in my pedagogy.

But...when I'm really honest about it, I have this fear that I'll be found out. I fear that people will see me as a pretender; that I won't be smart enough, or savvy enough, or quick enough to answer the questions that come. What if the kids don't respond to my goofy sense of humor? What if the stories fall flat? What if the questions I ask linger in the air with no one willing to voice an answer? What if all my planning collapses in on me?

I sometimes wonder if other teachers feel this way.

But then I think of my students.

For the first 14 years of my teaching career, I taught middle schoolers, mostly. They are kiddos in a time of transition. They have fears, anxieties. They put on a brave exterior, harden up that outer shell, and act "fine." They usually look confident enough.

Now I teach college students. I teach a lot of freshmen in Intro to Education. They too are in a time of transition. And...they too (probably) have fears and anxieties. They put on the bold front and look confident enough.

Maybe we're all in this together? The newness of a new beginning can be a fearful place.

But we do not need to "be" our fears.

This morning, as I'm preparing for teaching, 1 Timothy 1:7 is on my mind:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Today, I'm going to teach out of love, serving my students. I have self-discipline in that I know I've planned and prepared: I'm ready to meet up with my students. And I pray that I will have power to "profess" today--in every sense of the word.

Here's to a new beginning!

First day of school picture...of course...


  1. I'm having very similar feelings this week as I start Student Teaching here in Wheaton. Sounds like they don't really go away.
    Hopefully, though, nervousness signals that you still care about teaching well. I was encouraged by a professor of mine to be a "perpetual novice", and I think that nervousness is a good sign that we are taking risks and improving our craft each year. At least that's what I'll tell myself as I stand paralyzed in front of students on Monday.

    1. Thanks for commenting, dear cousin! This is the first year I can remember that I didn't have a nightmare the night before school started. (They are usually silly nightmares about all sorts of ridiculous things going wrong on the first day...)

      I fully agree that nervousness is a good sign, and I love the phrase "perpetual novice." I've told the freshmen I teach in Introduction to Education, "If you ever stop learning, you better stop teaching." I try to practice what I preach there too...

      Blessings to you as you begin the joys of student teaching!