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  • Picture a fish flopping around on the bank of a river - not really getting anywhere, not sure what to do next, feeling like every movement is taking it further and further away from where it needs to be. Well, that is how I felt on the day I was recording for my lesson. My purpose was to examine Homer's writing style in THE ILIAD, and explain to students how he used elements of oral tradition in his written literature. Sounds easy enough, right? I reviewed my lesson plan a couple nights before I was set to teach it, and I spent a good deal of time the night before making sure I was fully prepared. I walked in confident on Friday morning, and I was ready to successfully complete the recording. When the students in first period walked into Mr. Beard's classroom, I felt sixteen pairs of eyes boring holes in me. They all knew that we were recording and that the lesson was extremely important to me because I would have to analyze it for my class. As soon as I walked up to the front of the room, the entire lesson vanished from my brain. I started to panic, but then I thankfully remembered that I had notes prepared to reference. As I started talking about Homer and THE ILIAD, I found myself almost reading from the paper and struggling to comprehend what I was supposed to teach the students. In my mind, I knew I had prepared for this lesson. "How could all of the information I had learned and wanted to say suddenly disappear?" I thought. Throughout the remainder of the class, I stumbled through the concepts and tried to make sure the students actually comprehended what I was saying. The minutes of the clock were counting down at an exceedingly slow pace, but I felt like everything I was saying was coming out in a rush. This was not the first time I had taught the students, so why was I so nervous? "What is happening to me?" I wondered as I tried to nonchalantly wipe the sweat from my face. Finally, the new material had all been taught and I asked the students questions to check for their understanding. Thankfully, I was not sure how, they knew how to explain the concepts to one another and could tell me the significance of each element in written literature. I thanked them for positively responding and participating in the lesson, and I prepared to face Mr. Beard to hear what he thought about my teaching. I cringed as I walked over to his desk to reflect on the lesson. First, he asked me what I thought about my performance, and I told him all the horrible things that I had done wrong and how I was absolutely sure I would have to record another day because this lesson was so awful. We discussed some things that I could do better, and he asked me, "Did the students learn the material that you had intended?" "Well, yes they did," I replied. We sat there discussing all the possible scenarios that could have gone a lot worse while I was teaching, and Mr. Beard told me that the way I was feeling was not the same way I was presenting myself. Even though I felt like a fish floundering out of the water, I was not coming across that way. "Thank goodness!" I said, "Maybe I won't have to re-do my video after all." I learned that day that I am always the harshest critic of myself. Sometimes if you take a step back and look at your performance from another person's perspective, you will see that you are judging yourself too harshly. Overall, the students learned the material that I had intended for them to learn, and they had no idea how nervous I was or that I felt like a failure. After I got over my nerves from teaching first period, I taught the same lesson to third period, and I rocked it. I felt so much more confident in my ability, and I didn't expect myself to be perfect. I know that I continually have room to grow as a teacher, but I will now strive to never make myself feel so badly about a lesson again.
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