Images and first impressions can be an important thing to be mindful. This weekend I was a shin-dig, that’s the official term for an informal hootin’-nanny, and at this shin-dig I told new people there that I was studying to become an English teacher. And yet again, I received the weird look that they couldn’t believe a guy that looked like me would, 1. be into English, and 2. would want to teach it to kids. I don’t mind this, as I can see their point of view. But then I also received the other comment that goes with the first two and that is that my students, “won’t want to fuck with me in my class” because of my physical appearance. I’m not bragging in any way here, but I’ve been told numerous times that because I’m a big guy with a “mean look” on my face all the time, that the students will be too afraid to get unruly for fear of me “kicking their asses.” These says, of course, are the words that are relayed to me and are not my own personal views. I usually laugh at these comments, but lately I’ve thought a lot more about them. What if that is what the students think when we meet on the first day of school?
I mean I do want order in the classroom so that everyone can get the best out of what is being taught. However, I don’t want the students to feel afraid to speak up or ask questions. I want them to feel comfortable about speaking up/out or coming to me with anything that they might have. I want to be seen more than this tough, no-nonsense teacher, that makes kids think that they’ll get kung-fu, ninja kicked if they look at me funny, like Tom Beringer in the 90’s classic, The Substitute.
So know I’m wondering if there is anything that might help to convey that I’m not some scary dude that’s teaching them about Shakespeare’s love sonnets. It still will probably look funny anyways, but as long as they know that if they want to debate or disagree with what I say that I good with that. So I was thinking maybe I could walk around, smiling more.
But, I’ll probably look like this guy and might not have a job for very long.
I think that once that I open my mouth and start to talk, and they notice how nervous I might be, they will see that I’m not scary at all and that inside I’m really one of these.