Anyone I told over the last year that I would be teaching this fall reacted in the same way – laughter. I as well, laughed at the idea, and then in private panicked and bit my nails over the whole fiasco. We laughed because we all grew up with teachers and let’s be honest, they didn’t look, act or sound like me. How does one foul mouthed, jean short wearing, whiskey drinking, table serving, country dancing, writer assume the role of “teacher?” Stranger things have been done I have come to believe. I am currently writing a paper on my theories thus far on teaching and how this whole process sits in my stomach. I have learned that my fear over “what I would wear” was actually a mask to mourn the loss of my then, (and much cooler) California identity. The question became not if I could do it, but how and who I would be now?
Just shy over a month into the process I have settled into a nice hum or I suppose what some would call a rhythm. I know how long it takes me to bike to campus. I have a route. On Wednesdays I show up early and treat myself to coffee. When it doesn’t rain I like to wear heels and the rest of the days I sport my usual sneakers or boots, now that the weather is turning cold. I have established rules for myself in terms of getting dressed such as: no jean shorts, no dresses too short to bend over in and always wear a bra. Other than this though, I have remained intact as the person I always was. Becoming “teacherly” was not, despite how dramatic I wanted to be, a total overhaul of my identity. It is just another outfit to wear. Add it to the list of roles we can assume. If anything, who I am dictates how I teach, rather than vice vera.
So, laugh on but fear not, my students are in relatively capable and partially sane hands. I wonder at times how all of this must look to them. I have done nothing to curb my foul mouth. I occasionally force my music taste upon them. I often times get more excited about writing than any one person relatively should be. I try to be a positive influence and imbue them with some sense, or hunger for learning. Maybe I’m asking the universe for too much. I should just be happy they come to class. They are a huge part of this life lesson and an incredibly bright and thoughtful bunch of humans. I feel very lucky.