How you made them feel

In less than twelve sweet hours, I will be beginning my student teaching adventure. I’m curiously serene right now. This, however, was absolutely not the case even a few days ago. I was seriously freaking out. I can’t believe these people are just going to let me walk into their school and pretend to teach their kids. Are they crazy? I’m not ready for this! I barely know anything.

Now, teaching is not easy.* I feel by saying this, I’m at least a little bit justified in my freak-out. Teachers really do bear an incredible responsibility in nurturing the minds of the children that will, one day, run our nursing homes and our government. Eeeeek…

Thankfully, I have some really wonderful women on my side who, for the sake of my students and my sanity, knocked some sense into me. So thank you, Amy Poehler, Maya Angelou, and my incredible mentor, Linda Carpenter, for showering me with your advice and instilling confidence in me.

I truly believe that teachers have one of the most important jobs. Ever. And that is a lot of weight to carry with you to your first day of student teaching. Fortunately, Amy Poehler reminded me to “treat my career like a bad boyfriend”…ambivalence is key. In her book, Yes, Please, Poehler suggests that one should approach her career with a healthy dose of ambivalence—recognize the importance, but do not let it EAT YOU ALIVE. I may not agree with her relationship advice per se, but considering my tendency to become so engulfed in everything I do that I forget to breathe like a normal functioning human, I felt this was great professional advice.

In fact, I was once also freaking out about a social studies lesson that I had to teach to a class that I had met for a grand thirty seconds beforehand. The classroom teacher lovingly reminded me that the students would likely not remember my lesson or much of what I’d be attempting to teach them. They would, however, remember the way that I treated them. I later learned that she stole this little nugget of wisdom from the late Maya Angelou who said,


My mentor, who blogs here, fervently seconds that motion. On her blog (and in her book, and in class, and in our conversations) she says, “Relationships first. Then you can really begin teaching content.” Now, that I can handle. It might even sound fun.

So, tomorrow morning when I wake up ten minutes before my alarm, I will indulge in a bit of shameless bragging. I don’t need to worry. I have a degree from a Big 10 University. I’m receiving a top-notch education at my current university. I am almost finished with my Master’s degree. I’ve taught children of all ages, ability-levels, etc. all over the country. I’ve worked hard. I can do this.

Thanks, ladies, for how you made me feel.

*contrary to what our lovely governor may believe…I may have some opinions on this, but I feel it’s best not to share them here…


4 thoughts on “How you made them feel

  1. Ashley M. January 26, 2015 / 3:43 am

    I’ll be texting/calling you shortly, but good luck tomorrow love! You’re going to do awesome (even though you’ll feel like a sinking ship sometimes). We’ve worked our behinds off to get to this point (read: last semester), and we can do this!


  2. Linda C. January 26, 2015 / 3:53 am

    You know what to do. Go do it.
    Good Luck.


    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss


  3. moore661 January 26, 2015 / 11:05 am

    A very wise post. It took me a while to figure this out, so it is great to hear it from someone just getting started. Best wishes to you and your students.


  4. Penny Zobel January 26, 2015 / 10:56 pm

    Bonnie, You are a beautiful and intelligent woman! You respect children and adults alike, and it shows in the way you talk to them. When people feel respected, they listen, when they listen, they learn, what they learn, they model. You already “teach” in everything you do. Show your confident self and smile, you will do a wonderful job.


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