I always thought that I was a person eager and willing to try new and different things. I often laugh at Conrad's predictability because he much prefers the "same old, same old" but today as my day began in my new faculty I was very much overcome with the desire for "same old, same old"! The last three years of my academic career have been very anonymous in large classes with different profs and it was very easy to just go about your way in your own private bubble without having to meeting anyone. In fact there are very few people that I know on a first name basis from previous classes. This all changed this morning...I learned more first names of my classmates today than in the past three years!! Let me walk you through my first morning and how I not only stepped out from my comfort zone, but I was so far removed from it that it was no longer visible!
I arrived to the orientation early (first because that is the way the buses ran and secondly because I am a keener, lol!) and greeting me outside the door was not a simple number on the door like in the past, but a huge sign with a welcome greeting that told us to choose a questionnaire from the box beside that hat that best represents us...(what?)... then we were to sit in the row of the hat that we had chosen and that would be our small group...(small group?? already?! Did I mention that I don't really like group work...I am not great at delegating and end up doing everything myself!) So, I carefully decided which hat I should be realizing that none of the hats seem to fit me...I finally decide on the beret..."I like to create possibilities" which I'm not sure is entirely accurate but it seemed to be the best fit of the 7. I was suddenly aware of the desire to have the same old routine...you arrive to class...you sit down in a chair...profs lecture and you sit there and take notes. It is predictable and safe and you don't have to think about what hat best represents you!!!
I move to my designated row and wait for the rest of my fellow "berets". Finally 2 girls sit down and I am glad to see them because because the cowboy hat row and the detective hat row seem to be filling up quite quickly. After a few moments one turns to the other and says, "oh are we supposed to sit in our hat rows??" (I guess the gigantic billboard sign outside the room was not clear enough!!!) and the two get up to join the straw farmer hat row and I am alone again. I busy myself by reading over some notes and finally I am joined by others and eventually there are 9 in my group...phew...I'm not completely alone! I should clarify that anonymous is not the same as alone...anonymous I can handle-alone is not good.
We spent the next hour doing various get to know each other ice breakers with the entire group of first year early years students and I learned the names of all of my team members and during the big group ice breaker I learned that there are no less than 5 of us who are moms with school aged kids (yay for moms!) Then came the real kicker... we were told that we had one hour to develop a chant/play/song/dance/poster that showed how different learning styles could come together to form a cohesive group...(WHAT??!!) and then we would present our piece to the other groups after lunch ...(what?!)...oh boy...for someone like me who needs to have a plan to feel successful this task petrified me. Here I was surrounded by virtual strangers and I was going to do a creative presentation in less than an hour...in front of 70 other strangers??? Amazingly, all the groups pulled off this seemingly unbelievable task with great success. Our group eagerly volunteered to go first and I have to say... I think we rocked, lol! I know that one of a teacher's greatest strengths is the ability to think on your feet and handle every situation that comes along but working without a plan is definitely something I can improve on and I have a feeling that the education faculty will help me develop that skill.
All in all it was a great day. We were treated to an amazing spread for lunch and even fruit platters for a break between the final meetings of the day. After hearing what the morning had been like for the other two streams (profs lecturing at the front of the room!) and how most of the students had almost fallen asleep I was actually glad for the lively interactive morning. We still received all of the knowledge that the other groups did and yet there was no danger of anyone falling asleep in our class.....maybe that's the lesson I have to take from the day...an interactive class can still be a successful one...man! I am learning already, lol!
Tomorrow is my first actual day of classes and i am less nervous about the year than I was yesterday. Thanks to everyone who has been thinking of me and praying for me and for Pam who bought me a lovely bouquet of flowers to celebrate my first week in the Education faculty and for Conrad who wrote me an awesome card of encouragement to celebrate my name on the dean's honour list for last term and for a great year ahead. He even bought me a pack of coolers for those rough days! lol! I love that guy!
Anyway, I should head off to bed to get some sleep before my first official day of classes tomorrow....