This week I became a new teacher at World Explorers Club. Just like that, almost overnight. I have done dozens and dozens of games, parties and volunteer art projects with kids over the last few years. But otherwise, I have always worked with adults and thought I am incredibly brave and somewhat stupid to get myself into this teaching business.
Of course, I am blessed with the most amazing and experienced partner who can captivate audiences young and old with a flick of her finger. But I had to pull my weight, too. I couldn’t just hide behind my computer, write email reminders and blogs. I had to get in front of children and teach.
Before, when I would hold an event or volunteer in my daughter’s school, everyone was grateful for my one time inspiration to share something with the children. But going in front of a weekly class is a completely different story.
Now, my teaching performance is directly proportional to the number of kids who sign up for the classes. So every class is like an audition! Every class is live performance art, sort of.
That’s what teachers are, they are actors who work with a script. Improvisation is allowed and necessary, of course, but during the class all you think about is how to deliver what you need kids to learn in the best possible way, to keep them all engaged and entertained. And then, hopefully, they will come out happy and full of knowledge.
There were certainly a few surprises that seem logical, but I did not expect.
- People cancel. First they think they are coming to class, but then things change. No harm done, thanks for the heads up, please come again. Still, makes you feel so bad, as if you failed before having even tried. Got to get back on that horse and try again.
- Kids get sick, when they get sick, they don’t come to class. It was not my fault, but still, I felt so bad I could not share all the information Julia and I have so carefully prepared. I almost wanted to send the parent of a sick child our Lesson plan so that they could cover the information at home. Get well soon and join us!!
- New people show up. They just heard about us today, can we please come to try a class? Sure! Do we have enough worksheets? Prizes? Food supplies? Luckily I am struggling with Overly-organized-must-be-ready-for-any-emergency Syndrome, so we were fine.
- People come late. We all have times when we run late. Now, as a teacher, I realize how much it affects the whole class. We have a lesson plan, 5 segments 15 minutes each we want to deliver and make sure everyone is on the same page. But if we wait for someone, it delays everything and the class runs out of time. In one of the classes this week we did not have time for an Art project! Terrible!! Lesson learned- we stick to our plan and start on time. If you are late, you are late and you miss something.
- Apparently, I make mistakes. OK, no surprise there, but with the amount of preparation and checking, I really thought everything was set. Offering the unhappy parent two additional free classes turned her into a happy parent and a supporter. Phew! Need to keep better records and crank up my overly-organized syndrome.
- Apparently, I am not half bad at being a teacher. Complete surprise! I knew I could do it with time, I knew I really wanted to do it, meaning I would move mountains to learn, but I did not know that I would be good at it and enjoy it so much. Once again, Julia, you were right.
- Julia is the best partner I could wish for. Well, this one is not a surprise, but still worth repeating. Moving furniture, cutting out crafts, brainstorming, rehearsing, asking for and receiving support in the tough moments, dancing with the kids! Those are a few of our shared moments over the last few weeks that I will always treasure.
First week is done. What will the next one bring?