Monday is the day when new lessons get their first test run and they can be a little unsteady on their feet. But usually any issues are easy to recognise and resolve, and by the third or fourth class you’re rolling.
Then there are times when that initial pilot totally and utterly bombs. And I go to pieces.
Mid-week I can handle the odd dodgy lesson. By then the lessons are well-oiled, I’m firmly back in the swing of things and the weekend is on the horizon. On a Wednesday I’m the John McClane of the classroom. Not on Mondays. On Mondays I am the Cowardly Lion.
Last Monday both of my new lessons crashed and burned in a truly spectacular fashion and by the end of the day I was questioning my ability to teach and my emotional stability. Cue phonecall to Dad.
While I’m unquestionably driven by my emotions my father is the most logically-minded person I’ve ever known. He may be part-Vulcan. I knew when I went and had a little pity cry in the park before my after school class that I was in desperate need of a dose of reason and big C delivered the goods.
He reminded me that while I might flatter myself that I am the centre of the students’ world, I am not. In actual fact, on their list of Important Stuff I probably rank around #157 after ‘level up on LOL’ and ‘learn how to turn my eyelids inside out’.
He suggested I think back to my own school days and consider whether or not ‘find a chink in my teacher’s armour and bring her down’ was on my agenda. Strangely it wasn’t. I was kind of preoccupied with my friends, my love/hate relationship with the male species and my treacherous body.
And my struggle to see myself as an authority figure? The only person struggling with this identity crisis is me. As par reminded me, students don’t generally consider that teachers have lives, let alone thoughts in the time before and after class. Hence why they look like they’ve just seen a person with two heads whenever you run into them outside of school.
At school I definitely didn’t have time to decide that my teachers were frauds because I needed to get my ears pierced again and find a way to have naturally straight hair, and my students are no different. In other words they just don’t care. Not in a horrible way, just in a I’m-15-years-old-I’ve-got-other-shit-on-my-mind-so-I’m-oblivious-to-your-inner-turmoil way.
I may be overstating it just a tad but I think I’ve had an epiphany.