Every time I head for my first class after the weekend, I get a little hiccup of fear.
What if I forgot how to teach?
What if the weekend gnomes ferreted away any knowledge or skill I had, and I’m about to walk into a classroom filled with expectant children, and I’ll have nothing to offer them?
I go through this nearly every week. It’s ebbed a little since the fall, as I’ve gained experience and more confidence, but it’s still there. Every week I feel this bizarre fear, and every week I teach my classes. My teaching ability doesn’t seem to atrophy over the weekend, but still, I feel it.
This past week was April vacation, so you can imagine how large this irrational fear has grown in anticipation of Monday.
I can only imagine what it will be like in September, after a glorious summer!
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Fear has immobilized me before.
I let a chick drown when I was eight because I was too afraid to reach and scoop its down-covered body from the water.
When I was nine, I stood screaming while a dog attacked my hens, tearing at them with his hunters’ teeth.
I felt small and insignificant and stupid when I walked by Richdale. I was in middle school and the boys hanging outside Richdale were in middle school and it was terrible.
When I was sixteen, I wouldn’t dance. My fear of looking foolish – of not knowing how – pinned me to the edge of the dance floor. I watched them spin and laugh and flap their arms and I was filled with envy for their freedom. I had the courage to wear a polkadot dress, but not to let the skirt swirl around me while I shimmied.
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I was short with my mother as I moved quickly through the house. Throwing stuff in my purse, brushing my hair, making sure I still had money on my Charlie card.
“Do you want me to drive you in?”
No, no I don’t, because I am seized with fear and I can’t be.
Because I’ve worked too hard not to make choices based on this darkness, and I can’t stop now. Because my friend lives there – daily she has seen the results – and I am a child protected by distance and trees.
Because there is a concert I bought tickets for, and I am going.
I got on the train, settled into the seat, and breathed deeply.
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