Being a homeschooler who chose to go into teaching in a public school is weird.
Even in college, the amount of students didn't really match up. Jessup was a small school at the time. I may have had 40-50 classmates in some of the core courses, but mostly it was 20 or 10 or even 5. The entire student body (counting the off-campus degree completion program) was just over 1,000 when I was there. The school I'm teaching at had nearly 2,000 students.
Walking into the gym, I was nothing short of awed. The introvert in me - the one that's still standing in the corner asking why this is what I want to do for the rest of my life - was overwhelmed. I stuck to my master teacher and hid myself behind taller people (not super difficult). When they apologized for blocking my view, I assured them it was just fine.
Not that it was all bad. The students all chosen to lead certain activities did great. I was in awe of the technique and talent of the girl chosen to sing the National Anthem, as a vocals person, and as a person who has never been the only one singing in front of 2,000+ people and nailed it.
The assembly obviously wasn't the only new experience, just the most notable one. It was also fun looking around at all of these high school kids who are simultaneously SO LITTLE and SO MUCH TALLER THAN ME. Apparently, I looked like I knew what was going on (a relief, because I didn't feel like it) because a bunch of really lost looking freshman asked me for directions. Of course, I don't know the campus any better than they do, so I mostly just pointed them to my master teacher. It was great. I felt *very* helpful.
It was actually a more chill day than I was expecting, mostly because my master teachers were nice and didn't toss me in front of a class to sink or swim. I am more grateful for this than I can accurately express. I mostly observed, passed out papers, and made jokes about Firefly with some of the kids in the class I'm eventually teaching after I introduced myself as an unashamed geek. So, you know, basically what I do in any new social situation.
The thing is, this is literally the first time in my life that I have spent an entire school day on a high school campus. Any high school campus. So there's still a part of me that will probably feel like an imposter for awhile. On the other hand, there are some plus sides to the situation.
For instance, I am entering this incredibly intimidating social environment not as a freshman, utterly unsure of myself and a little terrified. I get to do this for the first time as an adult, someone who has had a few years to get used to myself and (mostly) learn how to stand in the face of people who won't all necessarily like me. Well, at least I think I have. Talk to me in December, we'll see how well that works out.
Also, I don't have any high school traumas to drag into my teaching experience. Or at least, not any that took place on a concentrate campus. I get to come in with a really different perspective on everything that goes on, and I hope that helps me see the students in a light that not a lot of other people will.
At the end of it all, I'm only here for a semester. I have an end date already. I can't really reasonably commit to making a huge difference in these student's lives. But I can do my best to relate to them for the time that I'm there, and maybe give them a look at how they can be different and cool.
Because if there's one thing I've done really well since my own high school years, it's being really different and still cool.