Reflection on Teaching
Before I taught at the Rice center, all I could do was worry about teaching there. I took Eric’s advice to talk more and practiced my slides again with my roommate and my friend Mady. Eventually I had to tell myself to stop stressing and just lay down in bed, and imagine myself teaching. If I could stop thinking about all the bad things that could go wrong, and just imagine the whole situation going great, maybe I would calm down. Since I gave this advice to Siobhan, I wanted to look it up and see if it’s effective and how it works. Guided Visualization: A Way to Relax, Reduce Stress, and More! on PsychCentral advises people to try to use positive visualization to reduce stress. Even though everyone is very busy, trying to spend some time quieting your mind and body. This can lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. It’s a lot like meditation, except you’re not totally clearing your mind. I’ve never been any good a meditation; I can’t shut off my brain. But this method allows me to let my brain keep running on, just changing my thoughts to a positive course, instead of spiraling downward. Athletes may use this technique a lot; for example by visualizing the course a runner may run a better race. So, I thought of myself teaching and everyone answering the questions and the lecture moving right along. It didn’t stop me from being nervous, but I became more excited about teaching instead of dreading it.
Like the image above, I was worried that I was going to think I was doing a great job teaching and the students just weren’t going to get it or be inspired. I think I got really excited that I was getting feedback from some of the students, I was just really excited they were talking and answering my questions, and I sped up the presentation thinking everyone was following me. I think if I taught it again I would have to slow down and make sure I was asking different students to clarify what I’m saying, or answer a question, to really make sure everyone is involved and knows what’s going on. That has to be a hard thing to do, when you’re teaching, to take students who are on all different levels of understanding and bring them to the same place together. But the students were really great! I feel lucky I had such a good class, and knowing their behavior makes me really excited to teach the Excel presentation. I feel now like I know I can teach it, it’s just a matter of getting it done. I feel a lot more confident now.
One of my goals in taking this course was to see how I feel about teaching. I thought it was really rewarding and I enjoyed meeting the students and seeing how excited they were to be on a field trip. I’m not sure about being a teacher, but if there was a job where I just run the field trips all the time I would really like that! I really liked the outreach and outdoor education part of the experience.