Firsts are always nerve-wracking. I stood in front of the class. My hands were steady and my voice did not shake. I might have babbled a little, but for me that is practically reticence. The classroom was at least a thousand degrees, but there were windows, so I could at least see the sunshine if not actually feel any fresh air. I had a nice short-sleeved shirt and comfortable shoes. I looked like a grown-up.
In the middle of the class I looked out and saw that they were all looking at me. I’m like “Why are you staring? Oh yeah, it’s because I’m up in front of you, teaching.” That’s when I realized that I’m going to have to teach. Of course I knew that was going to happen on an intellectual level. But I was caught up in what to wear, what to put on my syllabus, how to craft my intro, where the class was going to be, etc. I suddenly realized that these eight kids were going to be staring at me for 2.5 hours a week, and I damn well have something significant to say.
That’s okay, a little challenge is good for you. It’s not as hard as rocket science or as raising a child or working in a mine. I know a whole hell of a lot about writing, and I think quickly. Now it’s about figuring out how to think quickly in front a roomful of 20-nothings. It’s about getting them to the fucking page. It’s about keeping them from checking out entirely. I also realized that I hate lecturing. So it’s exercises and participation, and I’m going to make them write their little fingers off.
What’s your favorite brainstorming activity?