Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When Things Go Better Than Planned

Don't you love it when something works out better t
han you thought it would? Especially when it's something you've been dreadfully anticipating.

If there is one thing I dread most in this life, it would have to be public speaking. Spot light on me. Yuck. Major anxiety. I know, I know... "But you're a teacher," you say. Yes, I am...but there is a difference between standing up in front of little children vs. having another adult (specifically a professor from Armstrong) watching me and only me....and jotting down notes on her yellow legal pad, critiquing me. Its frightening and I don't like it.

My fears are irrational, really. I don't care if she doesn't like my lesson. I don't care if a kid throws a fit, or picks a booger, or blurts out a wrong answer. Who cares! My fear is that the professor will sense my fear. That my hands will shake, that I will have a coughing attack, that my face will turn red, that my voice will quiver, that I will feel overwhelmed & not be able to catch my breath and pass out!! This, my friends, is what scares me most. How dumb, I know.

Her e-mail reads: "I'll be there to observe you at noon! :)" All smiles. "Sounds great!" I lie.

All morning my stomach is in knots...."Maybe I'm getting the flu," I think to myself...."after all, half the class is out sick....that must be what it is...maybe I just need to go home. I'll call and tell her that we'll have to reschedule...surely next time I won't be so's just been a stressful week. Everything will be better NEXT time. " No, Caroline. Wrong. This will not solve your problems. Good try. (This is the battle going on in my head as I watch the clock.)

8:30.....9:15...9:45......10:05.....10:30....maybe she won't be able to come in today...10:50, 11:00... Okay, one more hour and this will all be over. I'll either be victorious because I pushed through with no problems or embarrassed because I passed out during my lesson.

11:17: I see her jolly face as she quickly approaches from down the hall. She's early!!! Magically, my fears subside. I think its just the build-up...the waiting... that gets me.

She comes into the classroom casually. We chit chat and I circulate around the room as the kids finish up something they were already working on. Before I know it, 20 minutes have already gone by and she has written up an evaluation. Well, that was easy!! One down...but she wants to squeeze in another observation for today.

Next, we transitioned into the lesson I had planned on her watching and it went beautifully! Wanna hear about it? Ok..

In 3rd grade, we are learning about Fossils. Well, what goes along with fossils? Paleontoligists. I decided to let the kids be paleontologists and use their "special tools" (aka: toothpicks) to dig for fossils (aka: pick the chocolate chips out of cookies.) There are more details as to why the chocolate chips resembled fossils, but I'll spare you the details.

Do not fear, we had a toothpick safety tutorial before their grubbly little hands got a hold of them!
1) No poking others (or themselves)
2) No toothpicks flying across the room
3) No sword fighting
4) These are no longer toothpicks, THEY ARE SPECIAL FOSSIL FINDING TOOLS

At the end, the kids ate their cookies, I got a wondeful evaulation, and as always, my fears were proven irrational. I didn't faint...or have a coughing attack...or cry.

Victorious (and relieved),

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