I Smell Fear

Let’s play a game.

One of these smells is not like the other one. Can you guess which one:

  • freshly sharpened pencils
  • new boxes of crayons
  • fear
  • brand new shirts


What do all of these have in common?

It starts with an s and ends with an ool.

(If you said sool you’re wrong)

The first day of school is full of new school supplies, new clothes, new students and TEACHERS FREAKING OUT!

If we think back to our first days of school we probably remember:

  • Crying while leaving mom (who was also crying) at preschool,
  • Grabbing our new backpack to rush onto the bus on the first day of third grade,
  • Finding the perfect outfit for the first day of seventh grade,
  • And rolling out of bed and speeding all the way to the first day of 11th grade.

I particularly remember my first day of high school, standing in the hallway, tugging at my new shirt, and glancing nervously around at all the high schoolers.

It was definitely a nerve-racking moment but as a student I fortunately didn’t have to stand in front of the high schoolers and talk about learning like the teachers did.

My palms are sweating even thinking about it.

But as a future educator, I realize that in the near future this will be my reality. I’ve heard that as an educator, the first day of school never gets any less terrifying.

Furthermore, the nerves and fears do not end the first day of class.

Every day of the school year teachers confront their worst teaching fears. Ranging from sassy students to unrealistic administration, teachers are pulled in numerous directions.

In my Methods course, we hashed out all of our worst teaching fears. What we ended up with was a smorgasbord of fears that filled an entire whiteboard!

photo (8)

*Click to enlarge*

Favoritism, bullying, burnout, discipline, professionalism, and wardrobe malfunctions were among many other horrifying fears we compiled.

Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. There is not a remedy for these very realistic fears.

However, what we as future educators can do is prepare for the litany of issues that will undoubtedly arise.

There is no faultless profession and working with teenagers is guaranteed to bring crazy, scary, exciting situations every minute of every class period.

But isn’t that what allures us to teach?