Part 5. My First Day TeachingSeptember 2008 - Lynchburg, Virginia
My speaking experience up to that point was six sermons I’d delivered over the course of as many years. Toss in three years of teaching hebrew school, and whatever being a camp counselor taught me, and you have the sum total of times I’d gotten in front of rooms in a professional capacity. I had no idea what to expect as I went over my notes on the plane to Lynchburg.
My flight landed at around 8pm and I met up with my partner at the Enterprise Rental Car desk. He was set to teach the advanced class. On the way to Bob Evans I asked him as many questions as I could think of.
“Who are the students?” I asked.
“You know, people who want to learn Photoshop. All sorts,” he said.
“What skill level are we talking about?” I asked.
“You name it,” he said.
“How long have you been doing this?” I asked.
“Way too long,” he said.
“Does traveling affect your personal life?” I asked.
“What personal life?” he said.
His answers helped about as much as his facial expression, which read Let’s-see-how-long-this-guy-lasts.
It’s not that I hadn’t prepared. I’d read 20 books on the subject and Photoshop was my life for the last 5 years, but I never considered myself a natural teacher and I couldn’t quite grasp the thought of people paying $199 to listen to me. I did not feel ready.
After dropping my stuff off in the hotel after dinner I went running to clear my head and think over the lesson plan one last time. That night I barely slept.
In the morning, I got in front of the 27 people, hoping they couldn’t see me shaking. If this went well, no one would know it was my first time. All I could think was, ‘I am the youngest person in this room. What the hell am I doing in front of these people? I thought I knew this. I know nothing.’
But the day went well. I had fun, and so did they.
The second day was a little less fun, as I’d just done the class the day before.
By the third day I was bored and they could tell.
By that Friday I remained bored and had no idea how I was going to keep my energy on a repeating basis. While the classes went all right, the thought of doing the class over and over again sounded miserable. How could I regain the energy I had on the first class? I had no idea, and that worried me.
Which is why my second week out was a disaster.