Need some advice: A little nervous about teaching (long, I'm sorry)

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by Robert5_25, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. Robert5_25

    Robert5_25 Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2007

    Here is my situation right now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have one year left after this semester. In the fall semester I will have to finish up my last semseter in college and the other half I will be student teaching. I haven't actually had the opportunity to get up in front of a high school or middle school class and teach yet. Next semester is when I will do that. Sometimes, I feel great about student teaching and then after that, getting a job and teaching. Other times though, I feel anxious and don't know if I'm adequately prepared or not to begin my career. I'm a good student, I get all As and Bs in my subject areas classes and I feel pretty confident most of the time with my knowledge but then again, other times I feel as if I don't know enough to be a good teacher.

    I don't want to call it my biggest fear but it is my biggest concern and that is speaking in front of the class. When I speak in front of the class, I don't get that nervous to be honest. In high school I used to but now I have it controlled much better. My heart starts racing a little but other then that its not too bad I would say, especially after I start talking. It's not that I am a bad public speaker because most people say I am pretty good. For the most part I think I am also. The problem I have in my opinion though is, sometimes when I'm talking, I don't know exactly what I'm saying or going to say if that makes any sense. I don't feel like I'm directly talking to anyone in the class. For instance, we present lesson plans in front of our class to the rest of the students in one of my education courses. This is about as much experience teaching as I have. Anyways, when I'm teaching these lessons, I feel like I'm in somewhat of a daze up there and not focused on anyone in the audience. Have any new teachers felt that way? I don't know how to explain it though. Almost everyone I talk to tell me that I'm not rambling or incoherent but that I actually know how to present material when I'm up there. I dont know and this is what adds to my anxiety about teaching.

    Sorry for typing a lot but I had to get some thoughts out. I feel somewhat embarrased to talk to my other education major friends about this although I think some of them are probably feeling much the way I do. Can anyone tell me how they felt before teaching or during student teaching. As I said, some days I feel like I'm ready to take on the world teaching but other days, I question myself a lot and how prepared I really am.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 5, 2007

    The nerves you describe sound fairly appropriate given where you are, Robert5_25. I think the best teachers are never entirely comfortable - they're always aware that they could've done better with this or that, and that discomfort motivates them to keep learning and growing and improving.
     
  4. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Apr 5, 2007

    Robert, I remember feeling like you said, like you don't know exactly what you're saying or what you're about to say, when I first had to give corporate training sessions. It was like some stress chemical ("Oh, my gosh, everyone is listening to me and I am going to fail!") blotted out my clear thinking. Somehow, because I had practiced what I was going to say, I made sense anyway. Sometimes I actually couldn't remember what I'd said and had to ask a friend after if I made sense at all. They always said, "Yes. I didn't even know you were nervous." Sound familiar?

    I think what changed for me was becoming entirely familiar with the material (after working in the same company for years) and starting to have enough confidence to have fun. Stage fright is normal and the antidote, I think, is practice. Hang in there.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 5, 2007

    Speak for yourself, Shelly: for some of us, it never quite goes away.
     
  6. Erin Elizabeth

    Erin Elizabeth Groupie

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    Apr 6, 2007

    I think nerves can also depend on the audience. Personally, I always have a harder time speaking in front a group of adults than a group of students. It's normal to be nervous! Like TG said, it may never go away, but I think the best way to deal with it is just be as prepared as you possibly can!
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Gosh, let me take it back, then.

    The thing that helped me was practice and becoming comfortable with the material.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 6, 2007

    There's something to be said, after all, for having been around long enough to let the nerves just sort of be there as background noise, rather than as an indication that Something Dreadful Is Wrong.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Apr 6, 2007

    I agree with everyone else; if you weren't a bit nervous it would be a sign of something wrong.

    By the time you get up to teach, you'll be well versed in your material. And you'll have notes in front of you; no one expects you to teach an entire lesson off the top of your head. (That's what lesson plans are all about--it will be right in front of you.) And, unlike "giving a speech", it's OK to pause every now and then. It gives the kids a moment to catch up and gives you the same opportunity.

    So don't worry. You'll do fine!
     
  10. Robert5_25

    Robert5_25 Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2007

    Thanks everyone, I truly do appreciate your advice that you have taken the time to give me. Your advice will be well taken. Thanks.
     
  11. Charab33

    Charab33 Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2007

    AAH Yes! I have felt that way several times. I too had only practiced teaching in my classes, and when I began my student teaching this February I was terrified of actually getting up there and speaking. I think it became easier for me because in the beginning I was teaching my MT's lessons. The info was all there for me and this helped me to relax a little bit. Now, 2 months later I am teaching my own lessons, and I am totally comfortable. It's all about the baby steps. Work at your own pace. I never thought I would be comfortable, but now I am!
     
  12. AnthonyA

    AnthonyA Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2007

    Robert, this may make you feel a bit better. I started subbing a few years or so ago. My story is long, lol, but to make it short, I got a position in a specialized program but then they did away with it. Anyhow, I will be returning to subbing/teaching once again after being away from it for two years.

    I was always one to get very nervous when speaking in front of a group. My first day going to sub, I was a mess (inside). Chances are, like me, once you get up there and start talking, it will pass very quickly as it did with me. While every individual is different, I can tell you I got anxiety to the extreme just by the very thought.

    Trust me, you will be fine. Especially if you are going to Student Teach first. I didn't even have that much!! lol
     
  13. CmsTigerGuy

    CmsTigerGuy Rookie

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    With several years under my belt, I still have those out-of-body moments when I feel like there is no meaning or connection to the words that are coming unbidden from my mouth. I've even given them a name--I call them "whoa" moments, and they feel rather like deja vu. I enjoy them, in a strange sort of way, and I'll even comment on them to my students. They seem to get a kick of them, too.
     
  14. Bogart

    Bogart Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2007

    I am a first year teacher and I can admit that I get nervous at times. I find that when I am very well prepared, know and understand what I am teaching, etc. then I don't feel nervous at all. Only a few times did I feel completely unprepared, or I didn't understand the material. During those moments, I did feel nervous. I think the key is to always be prepared with your lessons.

    As others have indicated, we've all been there and many of us are still there. Even after my first year, I'm sure there will still be times when I feel nervous.
     
  15. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Apr 7, 2007

    I know just how you feel. I am a first year teacher and sometimes, towards the end of the day after I've done the lesson over and over, my words get jumbled and perhaps I do ramble on. As for the rambling on part- I have learned to say only what's important because kids will tune you out after long lectures. Also, sometimes I don't make sense and I can tell because kids will look lost, so I ask if anyone is confused, and I made most of the kids feel comfortable enough to let me know that I'm not making sense. The important thing is to NOT take yourself too seriously. My kids (7th graders) know that I am just human and we all crack up laughing when my "R's" sound like "W's" because I am just tired of talking.
    I always hated getting up in front of the class in school. Now, I see teaching as theater and it's fun! Also, all my life I have been a stutterer! But I do it very very little while I teach. That always worried me. But I find that I can manage it well.
     
  16. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Apr 8, 2007

    I'm very quiet by nature, and I like to blend into the background as much as possible . . . so I really surprised people when I got into teaching.

    I was very, very nervous about actually TEACHING a class for the first time. I knew that I knew my stuff, but I had no idea about delivery or interacting with the kids.

    I still don't actually enjoy speaking in front of people, but I'm much better about dealing with students . . . and I've gotten into PD stuff for teachers in the last few years.

    I'm 14 years into my career, and I still have bouts of nerves here and there, but nothing major. I think a bit of nerves helps keep you on your toes. I teach middle school, and keeping a sense of humor helps. I often say things incorrectly, and I stutter sometimes.
     
  17. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Apr 8, 2007

    I have a friend who sounds comfortable when teaching but she gets red blotches all over her face, neck, arms ... when she is nervous. She has been teaching for over 10 years, still gets those blotches at times but is an Assistant Principal this year.:)
     

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