My Classroom; Expectations Vs Reality
I don’t know about other neophyte teachers, but for me, being assigned a room for the first time was a tremendous event. It was a strange feeling of pride, fear, motivation, zeal and a huge sense of responsibility, too. I felt that all of these feelings danced discordantly within my soul, then got mixed up in the melting pot of my heart…This peculiarity is one of the things I’ll never forget. That I know!
“Here is the key to room Nº12” the principal said. A delightful glare made its way out of my popping eyes as I grabbed the key. Many thoughts, images, ideas and memories flashed in my head that I almost forgot to thank the principal before I walked out of his office.
I got to room 12 in the speed of light. I opened the room and got in to what I thought would be my “Dream Theater”, my “Broadway”, my “circus” and most importantly, my as well as my students’ “home”.
Strange as it may seem, it was true. I didn’t see the classroom as a mere room where the teacher talks and the learners listen; the chalk and talk way wasn’t even an option for me. I didn’t see the classroom as a workplace where I do my duty and hit the road back home, either. A classroom was a holy sanctum to me. In addition, I wanted my classes to be fun, motivating as well as engaging and appealing to all students. I knew that for this to happen, I needed to care about my students’ different learning styles and multiple intelligences, and that was a thing I was willing to do.
I entered the room and it gave me a rather negative first impression. It wasn’t as clean or equipped as I had hoped for. It only had a blackboard, a teacher’s desk, which was broken from the left side, a teacher’s wooden chair, and about 25 tables. While inspecting the room and its “equipment”, I noticed that many of the tables were broken; some tables’ upper parts were completely removed, others didn’t have the back part against which the students are supposed to put their backs, whereas others had some metal parts uncovered which I thought was dangerous. Moreover, I noticed that there were no curtains on the windows, and that only 2 out of the 6 bulbs were actually working, not to mention that there was no chalk, either!
If sighing had helped, my room would’ve turned into the most beautiful and well-equipped classroom in the world, but it didn’t, so, frustration had its big break to invade my heart. Nonetheless, I attempted to get rid of that awful feeling by focusing on what was still doable regardless of all circumstances and hurdles. I was a newly appointed teacher after all, and change is what I was there for.
I asked the principal about the situation and what we could do about it. He said there wasn’t much we could do. He added that it was the ministry’s responsibility and that compared to other schools in other places, ours was heaven!
Later on, I asked the principal whether they had a data show (A projector that connects to the computer) that I could use to teach my classes. He said there was one for sciences and that for me to have one; I needed to write a letter to the ministry and wait for their reply. I understood that this was a polite way of saying that I wouldn’t get one.
Now, the bleakness and dreariness of the situation got even graver. I hadn’t seen that coming. I knew things wouldn’t be perfect, but it never occurred to me that they would be that austere. So, In order to relax a little bit and get rid of my stressful first days at the school, I went to the neighboring wood and lied down breathing the fresh air of the eucalyptus trees. Being in a calm place gave me some peace of mind, so, I started rearranging things in my mind. The most important thing I did was that I decided to “get real” and defy the situation no matter what it would take. I thought that my ideas about teaching unorthodoxly wouldn’t be feasible, but that I could do my best to adapt the resources at hand.
That was some food for thought I needed to consider and ponder upon.
To be continued