I started teaching three years ago with a temporary teaching certificate. Since I don’t have an education degree (though my masters is focused on educational leadership) but did have a degree in my subject area (I have a BA in English), I was able to apply for a temporary teaching certificate in the state of Florida that gave me three years to basically complete an educational degree program. So, for the past two years, I have been taking classes at night, on the weekends and online to get that degree program completed so that I could get my permanent teaching certificate by the time my temporary teaching certificate expired this June.
(Are you following me here?)
So, tonight was my last night of class. It was the culmination of all I have learned in this two year program. I had to take all the information I’ve learned in all these different classes and put it all together by creating one big unit for my classes, presenting the unit to my classes, assessing my classes through this unit, and then presenting my findings tonight as my final report for my certification. It was a big deal, people.
For two weeks, I have been preparing for my presentation. I’ve been collecting samples of student work, interviewing students, making Prezi presentations (which is like a way cooler version of PowerPoint). You could EITHER present a PowerPoint or visual presentation OR samples of student work OR a live demonstration of your teaching practices. I chose to do all three because I’m the oldest child and that’s what us overachieving, highly neurotic oldest children do. I was ready to go.
I get to class and our instructor asked if there were any volunteers to go first. My hand shot straight up. Why wouldn’t it? My presentation was going to be AWESOME.
I give my 20 minute presentation, and I’m nailing it. Just nailing it. Sailing through it. I demonstrate my live lesson and I thought, “Gosh, I’m such an awesome teacher.”
After my presentation, I’m not going to lie, I expected praise. Lots of praise. Praise from my instructor, my peers, perhaps even from the school board. Praise should rain down.
And yet, everyone just kind of sat there.
“Well, this is odd,” I thought.
My instructor made a few vague, generalized statements about my presentation, but that was really it. I took my seat and thought, “I don’t care what she says. That shizz was AWESOME.”
The next person stands up and gives their presentation. About five minutes in, I realize they are talking about the wrong topic. Their presentation isn’t anything like mine.
“Humph,” I snorted. “Amateurs.”
Then the third person stands up and presents, and THEIR topic isn’t anything like mine either.
“Humph,” I snorted again. “This poor fool presented on the wrong topic!”
Then the fourth person stands up and presents, and THEIR topic isn’t anything like mine either.
And that’s when the cold panic started creeping its way up my body. Why weren’t these people presenting like me? Why weren’t they doing what I was doing? What exactly was going on here?
Very quietly so as not to disturb the fifth presentation which was nothing like mine, I pulled out a copy of our assignment and read through it. And that’s when I realized.
They weren’t the poor fools, I was.
I HAD JUST GIVEN A 20 MINUTE PRESENTATION ON THE WRONG DAMN TOPIC!
And not only was it the wrong topic, Imaginary Friends. I had slammed dunked the wrong topic. I even made the audience do activities along with me like they were my students. ALL THE WHILE, THEY SAT THERE THINKING, “WHAT THE HECK IS SHE DOING?”
Oh, the shame, Imaginary Friends. Oh, the shame.
I went to my instructor after class and I think I said something like, “So…yeah… I presented on the wrong topic.”
And I think she said something like, “So… yeah… You did.”
In the end, I offered to redo my presentation and submit it to her electronically instead, but she said she would see if she could work what I had done into the rubric somehow (which is teacher speak for, “I’ll have mercy on you and give you a better grade than you deserve”).
Pride. I gots it. And tonight, it done got me.