Taylor: Can you remember your very first teaching assignment or your very first day as a teacher, and what that felt like and maybe how you blew it?
Rose: Well, I started teaching as a young man in a program called the Teacher Corps, which was an old War on Poverty program, where they took us young folk and put us in elementary schools in communities that were pretty, pretty poor off. And I started out in kindergarten.
Sanchez: In my first writing class...I was an idiot. I was a stone-cold idiot. I didn't know what I was doing. I had them... I asked them to do ridiculous things that I don't want to talk about.
D. McQuade: I panicked!
Cushman: I can't even remember that!
Glenn: I was too uptight.
Ball: I thought that the game of teaching literally was to put on that teaching persona and to walk into the classroom and be mean and tough and be like, "This is the way it's going to be," and then I can scare off all the students who don't really want to be there and then I'll be nice the next day, right? That mean persona sort of transferred into too many days.
Bizzell: So I showed up for class in blue jeans and a work shirt, which was pretty much my uniform those days. And I had this sort of epiphany in the middle of the first class which was, "Hey, wait a minute, this is not going to work. I can't look too much like them because then I won't have any authority as a teacher at all."
Powell: What I remember about it is what I wore because I was young and I wanted to make a serious impression on the students. And, I kept thinking if I dressed really well, they wouldn't notice I didn't know what I was doing.
Reynolds: I clung to the textbook like a life raft. It was Maxine Hairston's "A Contemporary Rhetoric, Third Edition," and I taught every chapter in order, including the one on Venn diagrams, which I now find sort of laughable and ridiculous. But the textbook was my lifeline. I didn't know how else to do it.
Matsuda: I tried to be very structured.
Palmquist: I showed up for a three-hour orientation and was handed the syllabus and was told to go teach. And all along I'd been thinking that I was going to be a graduate teaching assistant.
Lunsford: We went into a room and some elderly gentleman came in and gave us a grammar test, all about nominative absolutes and conjunctive adverbs, and we all failed. We knew how to write, and we all knew how to make those constructions, but we didn't know the names of them. And so after we all failed, he said, "tomorrow's your first day of teaching. Good luck."
Schilb: And I had rather far from my mind the idea that I operate with nowadays, that every writing class, even if it involves discussion of a text that the students have read should be geared to helping them write about that text or write about some other text or write about some other subject.
Royster: My goal was to make students feel about learning what I wanted them to learn the way that my favorite teacher had made me feel about what he wanted me to learn.