Students teaching (and actual teaching!) is drawing nearer and nearer. While I’m so excited for this big step, I’m also really nervous. Thinking about being in charge of a classroom forces me to confront one of my biggest fears about teaching; how am I going to teach a roomful of kids when I still feel like a kid myself?
I hear all of my mom’s old fart teacher friends complaining about these “young teachers”, well that’s about to be me! It’s scary being a young teacher, but it’s inevitable, you have to start out somewhere. When I think about being 22 and it being my job to educate 18 year old students, it’s a little unnerving. I’ll only be four years older than them! I am worried that it will be difficult to gain respect as an authority figure with such a short age gap. I never had any young teachers when I was in high school, but I did have a young poms coach. She was 26 and I hated her. In my mind she couldn’t possibly know anything because she didn’t have enough experience. She was less than ten years older than me; I might as well just coach the team! Now this girl really was clueless, but that didn’t have anything to do with her age. To me however, age was an easy way to citizen her. This is what teenage girls do. They will find some way to find something wrong with everything. And as a young teacher, I am sure that the relationship between age and experience will be a high point of criticism.
I think that my male students will take my age in another way. Whenever I’m at any social event and explain to anyone that I want to be a high school teacher, their immediate response is always “well, those high school boys will just love you!” I hate when people say this. First of all it makes me feel really awkward and second, it reminds me of that fear of being a young teacher. No one wants to be objectified, especially a young teacher. Being a new teacher is hard enough without dealing with hormonal boys and critical girls. My appearance is a big concern for me. People usually think that my thirteen yea old sister is older than me, so that puts me at what, twelve? I have a baby face I guess. When I start teaching, I will just be waiting for that day when the security guard tells me I can’t be in the halls after school and I will have to explain that I am, in fact, a teacher.
I also worry about my maturity a little bit. I am probably one of the worst students ever. I miss class all the time, don’t do my homework, and am never prepared. These skills probably don’t translate well to becoming a teacher. How can expect my students to act a certain way when I know I don’t? I think that I have a lot of growing up to do in the next year. I can’t do anything about my age or appearance, but working on my skills as a student will help me feel more confident about becoming a teacher.