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?


8 responses to “Firsts

  1. My fav brainstorming method is daydreaming. Literally staring into the middle distance and turning off the censors and watching what comes in. I usually can’t sustain the effort because I soon become too conscious of it, but many a time it’s gotten me around some problem or given much greater depth to a story idea or such.

    Your standing-in-front-of-the-classroom experience sounds pretty much exactly what mine was like back when I taught comp at the community college. Also, I found out I’m a bad teacher. So I stopped doing that.

    Keep the faith, Sister!

  2. First, well done. I bet you’ll end up loving teaching.

    For brainstorming, I find walking for transportation, riding the city bus, and riding the train all work for me. Subways, walking without a destination, and driving (or riding in) a car do not work. I’m not sure why, but it’s predictable. So much so that I considered coming up with some pretext for taking the train to New York and back once a month just for the six hours of Super Brain Time.

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