Thursday, September 19, 2013

Would You Like to Teach Today?

We went to co-op today after a morning filled with time outs and tears.  As my husband gave me a kiss and hug goodbye he said, "Hey, look at the bright side.  At least you have other people teaching them today!"  I breathed a quick sigh of relief and buckled them into their car seats.  

We walked into co-op and sang a few praise songs that I know from singing at church.  I was lost in the moment when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  It was Bailey, the head of the Elementary program.  "Hi! Kate, right?  The preschool teacher is sick and the two other mothers that usually help out aren't here today.  Can you just go ahead and teach the class?"  she asked brightly.  Now tell me, what would you say?  Not really an option, right?  "Sure!" I said trying to mirror her forced enthusiasm.  "I'd be happy to help!"  And then I started scrounging my brain for every possible educational activity I could use to fill the next four hours.

My son had brought The B Book because they were planning on doing "B" activities.  I decided that would be our jumping off point.  I found the craft materials and started writing a plan in green crayon.  Sing The Bear Went Over the Mountain, read "B" book, have kids remember "B" words from book, walk around backwards like they did in the story, Build with blocks, blow bubbles, act like Bees...Anything I could think of went on the list.  Just as I started to feel a little more confident, I looked up and saw another mom peaking her head in the door.  "Hey, I heard you're a bit short staffed.  Can I help?" she asked kindly.  "YES!  Thank you so much!  .Here's my list - We're going with the letter "B".  Feel free to add any ideas." I told her.  "Oh Great!  I have an alphabet story CD in my car.  I can grab that.  And maybe we could take them to the gym for awhile to play with balls.  They can catch and come up with "B" words at the same time!"  she said.  All great ideas.  I called the kids to sit in a circle to sing and we were off.

It was not without a few hitches.  It was hard to get everybody focused on the project at hand and sometimes it felt as if we were overcompensating with too many activities and frying their little brains.  But there were other times that it was exhilarating.  When I heard them laugh at a story or be silly like bumble bees, I felt like they were really enjoying the learning process.  I was thrilled to have this other mom that I didn't even really know come to my aid and help to make the day a success.  I was proud of myself for pulling through in a crunch.  I asked my son as we left what he thought of class and he said, "Great, Mommy.  You are a really good teacher!"  That alone made it worth it.

Sometimes we don't know what we're made of until we're pushed against a wall.  Sometimes we spend so much time doubting ourselves that we miss opportunities to do something great.  Although this was a small thing, it reminded me how important it is to step out of my comfort zone and make things happen.  I reminded me that everybody needs to be pushed every now and then.

When was the last time you were pushed out of your comfort zone?  How did you surprise yourself?

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