I am not in the greatest of spirits today, not because my classes went horribly – they really didn’t – but because they were dull. I mean it – I know I probably would have been bored if I had been sitting in my students’ place, and that doesn’t encourage me.

Some of the material is just harder to work with. I decided to start out with Native American creation myths with my juniors, and I admit that I haven’t had very good instruction planned. It’s been planned but not well – I just don’t have the kind of inspiring stuff that I want.

I’m not in bad shape, though. Everywhere I turn, I hear more evidence that the last teacher set the bar really low, so much so that it came back to me that some of my students have reported learned more in the last week than they learned with my predecessor all last year. (That’s probably unfair, anyhow.) I don’t honestly consider it a compliment as much as it is a statement of my current non-failure. It’s also not a statement of success, either.

I guess maybe this is somewhat like what I’ve been told the first year will be like; one teacher told me that he suggested to his dean that refunds be issued to his first class of students, and I’ve heard that the first two or three years help establish your “groove” in teaching. Okay, I’m not going to argue with experience on this one. Nevertheless, I wanted – and still want – to do better than the normal first year; I want to thrive, not simply survive.

That’s easy to say and hard to practice.

As always, I wish I had an easier solution to go from uninspiring to inspiring – hard work and more (and deeper) reflection, I guess. And maybe I should feel good about the fact that I don’t feel good about my teaching; awareness is not the problem, even if I struggle (only in the tiniest sense) with apathy.

Has anyone else ever felt like this during the initial stages of teaching? It would be great to hear that I’m not alone on this. Otherwise, I’ll just have to keep on pressing forward with the assumption that this is just the path I need to traverse.

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