[Notes from The Student, Part 2]

Can I just say, I have a new-found respect for Education Majors?

And teachers.

And anyone who is good at planning, being creative, organizing, and then ACTUALLY EXECUTING SAID PLAN.


I just finished my second lesson plan (this one was for a listening lesson), and tomorrow is my first day teaching an ESL class. We’ll see how it goes. I tend to get sidetracked by their interesting stories.

For example:

Today, I “acted” as an ESL student because there was only one tried-and-true one (a Russian man, seemingly in his 70s or 80s, not sure…). So I got the privilege of discussing questions with him, answering multiple choice and true/false questions, and trying (overall) to be engaging.

But the thing is, I started talking to him, and I found out he used to fly planes in Russia.

He was a doctor on a helicopter that flew down to help people IN THE TUNDRA. Yes. The tundra.

I felt a little bit like I’d wandered into a novel.

I asked how long he’d worked there. Fourteen years, he said.

Then I asked if he liked it, and he smiled and just said, it was my job, and I was reminded, again that

we do what we are supposed to do

we do our jobs

we do the right thing

and we don’t always have to like it.

There is so much I could learn from this Russian man.



[P.S. Power-outage in the city today. For blocks. Everyone freaked. Restaurants wouldn’t take cards; people didn’t know what to do with themselves. I was secretly in awe. There’s something I love about remembering that we depend on things, that there are some things out of our control. Like when a huge snowstorm stops life. It’s beautiful, kind of, to remember that we’re finite.]



[Notes from The Student, part 1]

So it’s become pretty clear that I do not like instructions. You’d think that someone who likes to do something perfectly the first time would thrive off direction, but that doesn’t seem to be true.

For instance, this past week — five days of two, three-hour classes — has been filled with VERY PARTICULAR INSTRUCTIONS. On everything. I wrote my first lesson plan (I almost said my first ever lesson plan, but that’s not true: I wrote some short, Catherine-suitable plans for vocal pedagogy in college), and I couldn’t believe how long it took.


I have to write down what I’m going to say?

Shouldn’t I already know what I’m going to say?

I felt like I was in elementary school, just learning how to write cursive and hating the extra curlicues and exactness.

I did it, though. I wrote out a five-page lesson plan, complete with about 15 glorious colored pictures and even a graph (thank goodness for little brothers who, with only minimal eye-rolling, show me how to insert cool stuff into documents).

I wrote it, freaked out because I have a huge and horrible tendency to lose my brain under stress and forget everything, and made a thousand copies so I could teach my first lesson to ESL students.

Real ones.

I rushed into class, ready, excited, nervous. Felt like I was about to sing an aria that I’d been singing all semester, but I was still scared of that run towards the end.

I rushed in, but the class was empty.

Somehow, there’d been a mix-up in administration, and the 7 or so elderly Russian immigrants didn’t know to come.

We waited a good fifteen minutes. Unlike my fellow students, I wanted the ESL students to come. Desperately. I LOVE adrenaline, and I perform best when I have a ton of it nearly shaking my knees out of joint.

But no one came. I had freaked and worried about being the worst teacher in my class and panicked over the copier for no reason.

Now my first lesson is this coming Wednesday.

The story of my life.

Intensity intensity INTENSITY

until the bubble bursts.