I remember the December of 2009, before I started work.
That December, my notebook/diary/journal was filled with what I wanted to say to my students – yes, the students I had not met and had no idea what they’d be like.
I wrote down what I wanted to say, how I should phrase certain words so that more impact would be made. Which points should come first, second, last, so that they would be remembered. As I wrote, I rehearsed the tones of voice I would use in my head so as to sound as convincing and professional and experienced as possible. But even after writing pages and pages of the rules I wanted to set for my class, the expectations and values I hoped for them to imbue, I still felt unprepared.
Despite my jitters, I survived the first day of work. And the day after. And the week after. And the year and year and year and year after.
And even though I did not continue writing down what I want to say (who would have the time!), I would rehearse speeches in my head. Practice pep talks (usually before exam periods). Go through lectures/scoldings so as to make the points as clear as possible so that they would know what I’m scolding them for. It’s funny, but I never did this for teaching content. It was only for topics like “there’s more to life than academic results”, or “resilience”, which would toss about in my head for periods of time, the mind coming up with lines which may or may not find their way into the classroom.
I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Especially if it happened once I had stepped out from school and wanted a quiet bus ride home. Or when I was in the toilet, trying to… Get things done. Or while I was trying to enjoy a relaxing shower.
After coming here, I thought I would be free from this torment of the Voice In My Head. After all, there are no students to be responsible for, no characters to mould, no children to impart values to.
BUT THE VOICE WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE.
As I was crossing the road the other day, I found myself “talking” in my head as I would to a class of students, about how different the bus driver culture is here and how much more gracious our society would be if we all started greeting our bus drivers.
As I was sitting in a cafe the other day, I found myself coming up with an inspiring talk about people with disabilities and how we can learn so much from people who have seemingly so little, and yes, I was mentally imagining a classroom of students!!
Maybe it’s a good thing that the voice won’t leave me alone. My mind probably subconsciously knows that I might very well be facing another classroom of students in no time at all, so it’s not letting me go so easily. I think the voice really belongs to the part of me who is still a teacher. Not necessarily a teacher in the system, but a teacher at heart.