1994 Me: So sorry I’m late. One of the kids was throwing up and the other one just realized she had a science project due this morning.
Future Me: No problem, but you might want to check your shoes. Is that part of the science experiment, or…?
1994: Grossss! (1994speak for Ewww!) Sorry.
F: Don’t worry about it. Let me tell you one thing, this part does get better. You will eventually actually have free time to prepare your lessons. And by free time I don’t mean the hour between 2 and 3 am.
1994: Great! When will that happen?
F: In about 10 years.
1994: (a little deflated) oh
F: The trade-off is that you will be expected to prepare, not just walk into the classroom with a vague idea. You will also have to start showing up more or less on time…
F: … and not give the students a crossword puzzle so that you can hide in the staffroom and make a phone call.
1994: But isn’t that kind of…. fascist?
F: under breath (Aren’t you adorable!) No. It’s considerate and professional.
1994: Oh sorry!
F: And about the compulsive apologizing, you’re eventually going to get that under control.
1994: Oh sorry! I didn’t realize it was a bad thing. I thought it made me sound nice and humble and Canadian.
F: Maybe, but it also makes people anxious. They think you don’t know what you are doing. So are those your handouts?
1994: Yes. We just got a computer, and one of those inkjet printers. I’m learning a lot about fonts and formatting.
F: Indeed. I like the way you right justified this section for absolutely no reason. Very contemporary. Anyway, you just wait. You’re going to have a portable computer. You will be able to hook it up to the wall and project its image onto a screen.
1994: Kind of like in Star Trek?
F: Kind of. You will also be able to use the computer to communicate with others, even with your students. You will write extended messages on your computer to share with others.
1994: That sounds a little nerdy…
F: Excuse me, but which one of us just made an allusion to Star Trek?
1994: But I’m not that kind of person.
F: You will figure it out. You will not really love the screen thing, but I can promise you that you will enjoy the communication aspect.
1994: Ok. I have a question.
F: under breath (That won’t change.)
1994: A student started to cry in my class. I didn’t know what to so. Will that get easier?
F: Hahahaha yes. In the present, you are the one making them cry.
1994: Nooo! What has happened to the warm safe inclusive classroom space?
F: Oh, it’s still a warm safe inclusive classroom space, but then you tell students that they will fail if they don’t improve their work, and they start to cry. It’s a tad awkward, actually.
1994: So what can you tell me about the big picture? How’s the teaching going to be?
F: It’s going to get tougher. You don’t realize how much of your teaching clout comes from the fact that you have a huge class with a constant waiting list. This will change. Demographics will shift. Classes will become smaller; the students will become more demanding. For a while, you will have to fight harder to do what you d0. Eventually things will work out for you, but it’s going to be a different world by the time you get there.
1994: Do you have any advice for me?
F: You know, I really don’t. I could tell you to keep a piece of yourself back, rather than throwing it all into your work, but you wouldn’t listen anyway. I could tell you to make a plan rather than rushing into things headlong, but I doubt a plan would have made a difference, and it was probably that headlong energy that got you through.
1994: Um ok.
F: You know I feel kind of bad doing this, but I’m looking at you so bright-eyed and springy and, well, radiant. There’s nothing to be gained by burdening you with all this. Although….maybe I could just leave the bit about the compulsive apologizing. Please have a look into this device.
1994: Sure (MIB not released until 1997)