No one ever really tells you what your first time is going to be like.
No matter how much training, theory you do, nothing is quite the same or quite as terrifying as standing up in front of a class full of children and teaching them something.
My first time was a class of 12, seven years olds. It was the longest, most adrenalin inducing hour I have ever experienced, the time paradox of during it, it seemed to never end, and afterwards it all seemed so quick!
I stood there, in front of them brandishing a pen and the register. I felt so tall and gangly, an uncoordinated giant in front of these tiny people, Gulliver and the Lilliputians
I tried to keep my face expressionless, tried to hide my fear, if in doubt, act the teacher. The noise level was increasing and I needed to put a stop to it. I counted slowly down from five to a silent one.
I looked down at the register, how on earth am I supposed to pronounce that name? My mouth is not formed to produce the sound produced by that combination of letters!
And now for the bit they have all been waiting for, the lesson.
A song, a good way to start, a 1,2,3! Blank looks all round as I sing, a Capella and unaccompanied to the little faces.
A snigger breaks the silence and the others take it as a cue to start to make noise. The song ends prematurely.
The lesson continues, I have about a 70% concentration rate combined with a 20% noise level, maybe 10% of the information stuck.
After an age I glance at the clock. Only half way through! I have only one more activity to do! But wait, it is ok; I have to leave five minutes early to get them out the door. It will be ok, everything ill be ok.
I produce a wad of worksheets and suddenly hundreds of tiny hand are grabbing at them, begging, pleading, to be aloud to hand them out. I pick a child at random and by the others reactions it is clear I have done something a kin to cancelling Christmas.
Just as silence settles, I get a request to go to the toilet. Upon hearing the said request, others join in, clambering to be aloud out, dancing comically, holding themselves because of the sudden urgency that had appeared, seconds before.
I am mean, no one can go, if they ask again in five minutes, maybe, but I am sure it will all be forgotten. I silently pray that no one wets themselves.
An arm grabs me, calling for help; I turn towards them, but then another one takes hold and another and anther and I am spinning round the classroom, seeing everyone and helping no one.
I have to stop this pirouetting. I prioritise and slowly make my way around. I can hear girls shrieking and boys blowing raspberries.
And then it is time for everyone to finish, I tart collecting in the sheets amongst cries of protest. It is the end, I explain, you can finish it next time.
It takes so long to pack up. What seems like hundreds of bags and coats to get on, dropped pens to pick up. Chairs to be put back and the board to be cleaned, until finally; finally, the door is closed and the lights are out and I walk, herding my charges down the stairs and out the door.
I felt exhausted and elated. I couldn’t believe it is all over and yet I knew I had to do it all again so soon.
If someone now asked me for advice, I would tell them, plan double what you think you will need and expect half the results and keep calm, everything will be alright!