My first words of advice to this young, and possibly delusional (I mean, really, who willingly chooses high school? Oh wait, I did) future educator were this:
1) Don't take yourself so seriously.
2) Learn to laugh at yourself.
What's that you say? Nothing about staying on top of correcting? Be a hard-a*# and refuse to smile for the first 6 months so the lovely, juveniles with an over-inflated sense of self-worth will respect you? No words of wisdom on planning out your units to meet state requirements, parental unit requirements, and other IMPORTANT educator-ese that one spends months, if not years, studying?
While that is all good and dandy, my perky practicum student would most likely find that redundant. So, like every good teacher, I want my practicum student to learn by my mishaps. If I couldn't laugh at myself these following snippets of classroom anecdotes would have ended rather badly for myself:
There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly
Coffee is my vice. I get through every day with copious amounts of that delicious, energy-inducing java juice. Mid-lecture, I paused to ask a student a question. While he hemmed and hawed through an answer I sipped my coffee. My thoughts were something like this: "Ahh.... coffee...." Tickle,tickle, scratch, scratch. "What just brushed against my tongue?! Don't swallow! Open mouth, let it go back to where it came from!" Looking down into my cup was a little black fly, frantically paddling toward the side of the cup. Apparently the look on my face was priceless. My students laughed, I was thoroughly disgusted and in need of something a lot stronger than a cup of Joe. A piece of gum and a few laughs later, the class was (mostly) back on track.
T & A for the Young Ones
My first year of teaching was an interesting one. Being nervous and a little paranoid, I wanted to protect my youngest students' unformed minds from all dangers that appear when directors take creative license with the classics. Case in point: When approaching the bedroom scene in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, I consciously fast-forwarded to the point where Romeo starts talking. Unbeknown to me, the VCR would rewind just a bit when you pushed "Play." My leap across the room to cover the screen is still infamous. Not only did I miss covering Romeo's tushy, I also managed to let the whole class catch a glimpse of Juliet's ladies. Every year, a younger brother will come in and ask me if we will be watching the movie so-and-so got to watch. Ask away, ask away, oh young one, but it won't every happen again.
The Latest Blunder
This one isn't as dramatic as the other two, but I even had a good chuckle at my own expense. I have a particularly boisterous junior class. After repeatedly asking them to stay on task, I finally had enough. "Please stop working and start talking!" I bellowed over the din. A momentary pause was followed by laughter. Apparently I had not had enough caffeine running though my veins. But, on the bright side, they did what I had asked them to do.