The anticipation, the stress, the nerves, the excitement, the chaos, the tears?, the fear….it’s a night that comes around a few times a year, for parents, students, grandparents, college students, and….professors? What should I wear? Will the students make fun of me? Will I say something stupid? What if I trip in front of class? What if I spill my coffee in my lap on the drive to class? What if I oversleep? What if I can’t sleep at all?
As a parent I’m sure some of you are all too familiar with these fears. I wonder if my students get nervous though? Are they rolling their eyes at the syllabi I already emailed them? Do they have a countdown of days until Spring Break? Maybe they’re just as excited and nervous as I am? These are all emotions I feel. But why?
Does that feeling to be “liked” ever go away? Does that desire to fit in still really affect 30-year-olds. I could say I didn’t care but that would be a lie. I’ve read all the textbooks, I have a lesson plan ready to go for the week, heck, I even know the name of every student in my classroom already! What’s there to be nervous about? I truly think it’s the anticipation, and hear my heart on this. I have been given the privilege and honor to mentor young students, impressionable, fragile young adults. I’m entrusted with teaching them skills in the next 16 weeks to last a lifetime. And I take that job seriously. I’m excited with anticipation to see the growth in these students over the next 16 weeks, the learning, the conversations, the character-building. I’m anxious to grow myself intellectually, as a speaker, as an instructor, as a mentor. I know I’ll be faced with challenges, as will the students.
I pause today to reflect on this opportunity that we have as instructors, to significantly impact, positively empower these students. And with that, I will do my best.