Darwin Moya narrates how he started and finished his rookie sem as a teacher in college.
I used to imagine myself on the first day of classes, speaking in front of students, explaining to them the requirements of the course and what to expect for the semester. I really don’t know if I fit the mold. I had a really weak voice, I tend to talk too fast and I’m prone to spaced out moments. But in spite of all those, in me was a real desire to teach. Come November 2010, an opportunity to realize that desire popped up. And so I stepped into the role… not knowing that it was way different from what I imagined.
First day of classes, I felt intimidated. I was like a poser, putting on a show while at the back of my mind, I deeply questioned my credibility to teach. Do these kids even believe half of what I’m saying? Or do they see me as just another kid forced unto them by the college for lack of instructors? And it didn’t really help that I could pass off as one of their classmates: guards accosting me, searching for my ID or professors barging in on my class simply because they thought I was a student.
It was a recurring theme throughout the semester: self-doubt and trying to act nonchalantly about it.
But minus all those personal dramas, there were very rewarding moments in my rookie semester: those very real moments of silence that made me believe my students were actually listening to me (or so I thought! lol), the pleasant surprise of insightful comments during class, and reading papers that progressed from mere regurgitations to actual independent thought! Of course, reading students’ comments on Facebook and seeing my pictures taken by them were quite exhilirating… that is until they booted me out of their FB group and deleted those pictures with rather hilarious comments.
And that’s another thing that added to my impostor side. I don’t take myself seriously, how could I possibly expect these guys to take me seriously?! Glad the semester’s over. Ang-hirap kaya mag-panggap.
Fast forward to March 4: done checking the final exams, currently encoding grades on my class sheet. I’ve said it a couple of times throughout the semester that I don’t really care if some of them fail to graduate because of my class. My grading system was very transparent and it was all them. But that Friday, I was quite surprised with how I felt as I punched in the numbers and saw the changing figures in the spreadsheet’s final column. I was rooting for everyone and praying, “Dear Lord, let it be 65 at the very least.” Funny, but that’s really how it went.
And I’m just relieved that I don’t have to explain a failing grade to anyone. I leave my rookie semester with great moments in my memory bank and an army of graduates.