Ten years ago, I was a recent graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College with a shiny new Masters of Arts in English Education. I was completely green but exceptionally optimistic about the world outside of the academic world. I was trained in teaching English but I wasn’t quite sure how it would manifest itself. This came in the form of Summer semester teaching job at Gibbs College in Norwalk, CT where I taught College Composition and First Year Literature to a smathering of adult students from the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.
Initially, I was really nervous because I never had students who were my age and older. It was a little intimidating – I mean, who would listen to ME if I looked like one of my own students? What did I REALLY know about English and Literature that would translate to relevant information my students would actually CARE about learning?
Luckily, through trial and error (and being extremely prepared every class), I developed my rhythm and eased into comfortable footing with my teaching, the course’s content, and techniques that would work with students of varied learning abilities and age groups. This process taught the importance in trusting my instincts and more importantly, believing in myself. That summer’s set of classes shaped my teaching pedagogy from then until now.