So I have this conference tomorrow. I have talked at conferences. I don’t get too shook up about it. But this one is my first teaching conference with real teaching experience under my belt. Most of my conferences before were from theory and what I thought I *might* do in the classroom. I just said it in the “right” way. The way that earned me my spot.
Then this one came up and I felt moved. I could never describe it. Not moved in the sense that I wanted to achieve some sort of status as a teacher speaking at a conference. Or speak from this magical place of knowledge that I have to share. I wrote what I was gonna say months ago. I knew it was missing something. But I sat it aside.
I let it sit on the side and I forgot about it. Then as it grew closer and closer I realized this was the first time I could talk from more than just theory or days spent here and there in pseudo classrooms. I have been teaching for almost two years now and I realized I had some methods that may just work and what my research portion of my conference was missing was me.
I have always been good at espousing what the “greats” in my field have to say about subjects. What I hadn’t done was crafting my own response to teaching. The ironic part and the part I believe gives me an advantage is I am a student and a teacher. I have this unique opportunity to play both sides of the fence legitimately. How often in life do we get to do that without being called on it?
So as I sat down yesterday and begin trying to legitimize my own thoughts I realized what I had to offer was enough. Sure the greats in my field may agree with me and it may make me look good to say so and prove it but what I have to offer has value. You know why? Because I was that student I am conferencing on.
You are thoroughly confused at this point I am sure. Well let me fill you in. The conference theme is Teaching under prepared students. I was an under prepared student and labeled as such at my university. Once I realized that connection and its value I realized I teach my under prepared students the way I was taught. The way I was taught by the very professors who mentor and teach me today using the very same methods. Once I grabbed onto that knowledge and feeling and I treated it like a blog entry I was able to break through and I wrote something that means something to me. It may mean absolutely nothing to my audience but it means the world to me.
The biggest parts of teaching are my full circle moments. Moments like teaching for the very first time in the classroom that I took my very first on campus college class, sitting at lunch with a professor who now I consider a friend, the sheer panic and feeling of standing in front of a classroom and running it like I know the back of my own hand and now realizing that the methods that work for me as an “under prepared” student transfer themselves to my students and they do so successfully. Maybe this is why I am teaching. Maybe this was the moment I needed.
Because after I wrote it I made a giant humongous call that came right after I made a giant humongous decision. A decision that I am going to leave hanging out there because I am not ready to share it just yet. Mommy Rhetoric is more than just words today.