I've been working toward becoming an art teacher over the past year. I have a degree in Art Studio, but never took any education courses. South Carolina has something called PACE, Program of Alternative Certification for Educators, that allows people without a degree in education to earn their certification while teaching on a temporary certificate. I've been approved for the program and am now eligible for hire as an art teacher. But of course with this economy they are letting teachers go, not hiring them. So until they have a position for me to apply for, I'm in limbo. I'm trying to get into substitute teaching in the interim so I can get my feet wet and have some experience to put on my resume. Trial by fire, if you will. I'm more scared of subbing than I am of having my own classroom! Classroom management can be a challenge for any teacher, but for a substitute who is only a temporary teacher? That's just asking for the students to go crazy. I have this fear that I'm going to have a class full of hooligans who are all running around like monkeys and that I won't be able to control them. I hear kids are like dogs - they can smell fear. I wish I could afford to go back to school for my Master's degree (which I want to do one day anyway). Then I could just get my Masters in Education and get some training and experience and not have to be thrown into it blind. I'm hoping I can fake it enough until I know what I'm doing. I keep remembering what it was like when I was in school (so long ago...) and knowing it wasn't as bad as I'm imagining. But then I remember that kids today just aren't like they were when I was their age. My parents would never have blamed my teacher if I failed a class - they, and I, would have known it was my responsibility to pass the class. I know it wasn't perfect - there were class clowns and bullies - but I can't help but feel like I'm getting in way over my head. Eeek! Do you remember in the movie Dangerous Minds how wild the class was when Michelle Pfeifer started teaching there? She couldn't even handle it, and she's a former Marine! I'm not nearly so assertive. And then there's Kindergarten Cop, where Arnold Schwarzenegger goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher - 30 hyper kids running around the room and screaming at the top of their lungs. Those little monsters are going to eat me alive...
Then on the flipside of my anxiety, is my flowery dream-world, where I love teaching and all the students love me and everything is all fun and hunky-dory. I'll be everyone's favorite teacher and I'll love going to work everyday and everything will be perfect. Parents will rave about how much their child loves my class and how they can see the improvement in their child's life. And on and on it can go. Then of course I can't help but think of all the great blog fodder I'm bound to get teaching school, especially if I go with elementary school.
Too bad the fear an anxiety is usually more powerful than the day-dreaming. I think I'd rather go in there all naive and optimistic and have it not turn out so rosy than start out scared that it's going to be horrible and that I'm going to suck at teaching. I'm really hoping that posting all this online will get most of it out of my system so I can starting being more realistic about it. I know it won't be completely horrible or completely perfect, but somewhere in between. I just don't want to be one of those first-year teachers who comes home crying at least once a week.
3 days ago