I’m getting ready to teach college freshmen for the next year, and I’m mostly confident that things will go alright. I remember myself as a freshman, so full of vigor and confidence, ready to be the pearl in the world that was my oyster. I was an idiot. I have almost no doubt that I’m competent enough to teach bright li’l ones how to be functional writers–I’m teaching English composition. But there is one thing I’m worried about, and I have almost no idea how to prepare for it. You see I don’t really think before I speak. I’ve always gotten along by being generally clever when spoken to and mute otherwise. It strikes me that a silent teacher wouldn’t do super well in a class which is largely dependent on instruction coming from the instructor. I have been told that is where the name instructor comes from, but who knows really. So, knowing fully that I’m awful at planning what I say, here is what I’m most afraid I’ll tell my students.
I don’t make a ton of eye-contact when I’m in a conversation, so a lot of my impression of a person comes from their voice. Sometimes, I don’t even really listen to that voice and just drift off and daydream of dragons. This is likely why I don’t have many friends. A good example that comes to mind is when a friend introduced me to someone they had known for a while, and during the introduction I was mentally miles away. I don’t know the context I said this in–again, I was not listening–but apparently saying “Oh! Why do you look like that” has absolutely no good context. In my defense, the person I had thoughtlessly devastated in a fraction of a second really had an awful face.
My feelings about my students’ faces is something I want to keep from them. Imagine, you are a scared youth in your first college class, you come up to the teacher, you’re shaking in the shoes your parents bought before leaving you in a new city, and you ask a simple question to this intimidating force of humanity (me) that leads your class to which they reply “Oh god your face is terrible!”
I really hope my students never find this blog. If they do, and one of them is reading this now, I’d like to take this time to say your homework is on your syllabus.