Thursday, September 27, 2007

And suddenly the nerves hit.

It’s half an hour or so until I leave to teach the first class of a new Philosophy Adult Education Evening Course at the local Community Centre.

Last year I ran an Introduction to Philosophy course; then in the New Year I ran an Introduction to Moral Philosophy course. Both these courses are ones I’d created and run several years ago, before we moved to SW Scotland. However, most of the people who’ve been through these courses wanted another, so I agreed to run one this autumn called “The Great Philosophers

I panicked a bit last week as I realised I only had 10 days before the class started and I hadn’t written any notes.

At the beginning of this week I got into my stride and felt damn pleased with myself for producing some excellent notes on the Pre-Socratics for the first class.

All week long, Maggie’s been asking me if I’m nervous about Thursday evening and the truth is I haven’t been.

Even earlier today she told me she was getting nervous for me, but I’ve just been tootling along, calm and serene, putting the last bits in place.

Then, tonight, while eating dinner I suddenly realised I was wolfing my food down while feeling jumpy and agitated, my mind racing with whether I had all the bits and pieces I need, and all the things that could go wrong.

Not least of which is my concern about whether I’ll have the energy to keep everyone interested and focused for 2 hours.

I can see myself requiring an extra strong cup of coffee at the mid-session break.

20 minutes to go. Better make sure I’ve packed the coffee
.

17 comments:

Dr Maroon said...

Pre-Socrates? like, who would that be?

Binty McShae said...

Socrates' dad. Rebelling against his dad's philosophy on life, popular music and eating your greens was what got the whole ball rolling, dontcha know.

justin barker said...

Good luck. Two hours will fly by especially with the interesting discussions I'm sure you'll all have.
Maybe you'll like this thing I found a while back. Only, I can't seem to beat Socrates.

Kanani said...

You are showing them Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure aren't you?

So-crates!

Yes, The Pre-Socrates would be the band that Socrates ripped the name from. Pre-Socrates later went on to become The Platos, however, they never fully recovered from having their original name taken.

PI said...

It's vital to have a rush of adrenalin or nerves before doing something in public whether one is acting, performing, lecturing or simple strip-teasing. When one doesn't it all tends to go a bit flat IME.

Tricia said...

For some reason it makes me feel calmer about STARTING new classes to know that the teacher might be just as nervous as me. We are all hoping to succeed! I am learning this more and more as my husband is a Math professor with his first job after student teaching while working toward his PhD. He gets nervous all the time.

Hope it went well!

Kate said...

Hope it went well!

BTW your courses sound really interesting.

michael greenwell said...

i was sometimes a bit low on prep when i was teaching. i know how you feel.

sometimes the spontaneous lessons end up being the best ones tho.

Carole said...

I expect things went quite well. Perhaps you could host an online Philosophy course. Since you have already done the work on the first two classes, maybe you could earn a bit extra and your faithful readers could learn a bit extra.

Tom said...

I'm sure your students are better off for having spent two hours with their "nervous" teacher. Like the impossibility of stepping into that flowing stream twice, your pupils are most likely seeing things just a bit differently this morning. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in wonder-land.

C in DC said...

Are you sure you're not in DC? My BIL just started a philosophy class this week.

I'm sure your class went well.

Restaurant Gal said...

And it went just fine, didn't it?

no longer anonymous said...

No worries. I don't pretend to know you but just what I know of you from your blog leads me to believeyou are an exceptionally Interesting & intelegent person. You students are lucky to to have you as a professor

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

How did it go?

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - Euripadese, Eumendadese

Binty - genius, pure genius :)

Justin - nice one :)

Kanani - excellent!

Pat - a simple strip-teasing? You have my heart a racing now :)

Tricia - we're nearly all brought up to avoid drawing attention to ourselves, so to be prepared to stand up in front of a group of people always triggers some part of the brain to feel a bit wary, but I've always been a bit of a show-off so quite enjoy it.

Kate - thank you :)

Michael - this is true

Carole - if I did an online course, it would be too easy for people to quickly look something up on Wikipedia and catch me out. At least teaching a live class I have the chance to bluff my way out of a corner if someone challenges me.

Tom - I'm busy writing something now...

C in DC - well if you can find a way to sponsor my flight and accommodation out to DC, I'll happily run the course there :)

Restaurant Gal - of course it did :)

NLA - thank you for your warm words - you have to remember that the blog is purely the edited highlights, written in such a way to make me look good, though.

Sam - it all worked out in the end :)

savannah said...

hurray for you, sugar!

Mary Witzl said...

Glad to hear that it went okay. I still have nightmares about first days of term. I dream that I haven't prepared enough, and that halfway through the class I run out of material and there everyone sits with glazed eyes, watching me...