During a recent teacher training, various professors from different disciplines were discussing how they still get nervous before teaching a class. I listened on with a certain amusement and anxiety. And I thought to myself, do I fear the word nervous? Is there some sorceress power in that word that triggers in me a flight response? I became uncomfortable with the word because I felt it identified something negative in me. Is the problem solved by simply changing the perspective of the feeling?
I embrace challenge, but, perhaps selfishly, I want it to be a challenge I desire. If it is a challenge I desire, then I don’t get nervous; I get pumped. Personally, then, I might get nervous if I were just an instructor, but I do not strive be a good instructor; I speak, study, and dialogue with others in order to be a great mover. I move for a living! I move human being skyscrapers, both myself and my students. Of course having the students learn academic essay format and textual analysis is my job, but my gifts go beyond that. I lead. I lead to passion and powerful energy and blunt and brutal truth.
Community is not cliché; community is empowerment, but in education many times progressive educators promote the community ring at the expense of something much more basic: self. Of course students value community, but they know much more about community than we give them credit for. Students desire and expect a leader, not a dictator or a lecturer or simply a facilitator. Students want to move. Regardless of the subject they teach, instructors, therefore, should be leaders who move.
With this perspective in my aura, I do not get nervous. I feel a responsibility and a desire to help others in the best way I can. If I make a fool of myself, I do so with a smile on my face. If I am criticized, I am critiqued with a confidence. Students want and need someone to get inside of the ring. I volunteer.