#sol15:March 7th. 2015: Nerves

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Every moment of every work day is about being “on” , facing a group of kiddos, mingling with them, nudging their learning, planting ideas, listening, and responding.

The moment I step into my room, boom! I’m “on”.  I’ve been teaching long enough that I can’t really remember those jittery first years, when the bell would ring, the kids would take their places, and I would have that momentary flash of:  “What am I doing here? I can’t believe that I am responsible for everything that happens with these kids for the next 50 minutes! Arghhh! Help!!!” … you know, panic!  Years of teaching bring the gift of confidence…

…until I have to present to a group of teachers.  Then I am back to the jittery first year of teaching days.  Unbidden questions and comments jumble and jostle their way into my head: Why am I standing in front of these teachers, as though I actually have something to teach them? Are they interested in what I have to say? Are they listening? Awake? Why are so many sitting at the back – do they want to make a quick escape already? Why did I have that fourth cup of coffee? Is it okay to ask for a bathroom break in the middle of a presentation? Will they even notice if I left the room? I think the elastic on my right sock just gave way.  Am I speaking too fast, too slow, too…?  Is it over yet?   Is 3:30 (by which time we would have presented and packed up) too early for a glass of wine?



28 thoughts on “#sol15:March 7th. 2015: Nerves

  1. I loved reading this post, Tara. You’ve captured the moment so beautifully. Staff developing work is exactly what I’d like to do as a culmination of my own career. I think often, of what courage it takes to teach to an audience of teachers. We are not always the easiest students, that’s for sure!

  2. In my first year of teaching, a very accomplished teacher confessed to always feeling that someone was going to discover she was faking it. 🙂

  3. I too laughed at this “Is 3:30 .. too early for a glass of wine?” Those jitters are real, but your fears are unwarranted. ANY group of teachers will learn something very special from you. Here’s me wishing I could be there!

  4. Working with adults is hard but fun once you can relax with them. I do believe that they are much harder than kids. I find if I can get them sharing with me in some way pretty early in the presentation we are get connected and the rooms seems more focused.

    Always a tough job! But you are the right person to do it!

  5. Your confidence will come just as it did in your classroom. I am with those who said they would appreciate an opportunity to learn from you! Tara, you are so authentic and passionate, that will always come through.

  6. I just did my very first presentation last Friday. I begged my colleague to come with me. Before the presentation started, I kept going over to her to tell her how sweaty I was. At one point, I felt the need to tell her my toes were sweating, and that it felt like I was walking in a swamp!

  7. Maybe you need the wine before the presentation? Ha! Ha! You’ve got this one, piece of cake because you are one smart cookie that knows her stuff. Besides, you’ve got Bonnie alongside you and you two have a wonderful story to tell of authentic learning. Enjoy! (also enjoy that wine too 🙂 )

  8. Oh my gosh. I could have written the same post. I was a nervous wreck at NCTE. Every time I present, I swear I will never do it again. :). I love the way you told this story. The fast paced narrative gave me a glimpse into your jitters.

  9. I love this post. It is harder to stand in front of colleagues than in front of a group of kids. I’m sure they were interested in what you had to share. We (teachers) are usually harder on ourselves. You should be proud of yourself! Thanks for sharing such an honest post.

  10. I love this hilarious look inside your nervous head. Where did the sock come from? Clever. I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes our colleagues can be the worst, too, when it comes to listening. Don’t they know how you feel? The side talking amazes (and infuriates me.)

  11. Having presented to large groups of teachers in my state, I know those feelings well. But they seem to melt away as you lose yourself in the passion for the subject. Still every so often, even with students, the enormity of the responsibility comes to consciousness, and it’s pretty terrifying!
    I can tell you that you have no reason to fear, and you don’t… but that doesn’t mean you won’t anyway! I don’t know about wine, but I do know it is never too late or too early for chocolate, if that helps!

  12. You never would no this by the way you handle yourself in front of the room. You are someone who I learn from weekly, and hope to continue to do so for a long time to come.

  13. Yes! This is the story of my life, Tara! I wish I could say it gets easier with practice, but so far, only a tiny bit easier! I still get a teensy bit of jitters every. single. day.

  14. Now, about that is 3.30 too early for a glass of wine question. If you changed your OLW to chillax I think it would be responsible of you to go right ahead.

  15. Oh….do I know those feelings. You captured those presentation jitters well. It’s hardest to present to a familiar crowd but they are so lucky to have you! Love your questions as a way to share your feelings… and the wine… and the sock 🙂

  16. I have been there so many times. It’s interesting to me how I always get way more nervous when I present to people I work with, but at other locations, like conferences. I also get more nervous when I present WITH someone else, mostly because I think I might let them down.

  17. Confidence often feels as if it is bedrock, until context shifts. You capture that well–show vulnerability which often tests our confidence. BTW, the write up as to what you are doing at the workshop looks fabulous. Lucky participants:)

  18. Never too early! Teachers are the best –never worry ! Your authentic voice and grounded experience in the classroom will never steer you wrong –not to mention your wonderful sense of humor!! We look forward to seeing you present again soon!
    Clare and Tammy

  19. I am with you on this. Although the new technology makes me feel like a new teacher. And I hope you enjoyed that glass of wine.

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