Last week I had the opportunity to lead my good friend’s Faith and Play group. She was out-of-town on vacation and when I asked her if she was planning to cancel the group she asked me to lead it for her. I was surprised at how nervous I was over this task and how out of “teacher mode” I felt. The job was not at all difficult and I had her AMAZING mother there to help me out with all of the behind the scenes details. So why was I was so nervous??!?!?
I practiced the puppet show that I would perform over and over. I wanted to make sure that I had it down because you never know what a group of small children ages 1-6 will throw at you. My own two children are part of this group and they would have to sit by my side and not on my lap, so we practiced this as well. I was feeling pretty confident about the puppet portion and had a cheat sheet for the rest…..but I was still so nervous.
The butterflies were flapping on hyper-speed as we drove to the church that morning. It was the same feeling I use to get on the first day of a new school year when I would interact with my new class for the first time. I took deep breaths, put on a big smile and headed into the church. When circle time came I grabbed the puppets, looked at the sweet faces and began our “Hello Song”. During the song my butterflies flew away and I could feel my confidence and energy flood through my body. The show went off well, the story and message was well understood and the rest of the group went very smoothly. It felt so good to be working with kids again.
I left that day feeling recharged and excited. Teaching and working with children has always had that effect on me. Just like every teacher, I had my share of difficult days but overall it was an energizing and uplifting experience for me. Now a days I get a similar feeling with my own children when we are knee-deep in a topic, like the Iditarod, and learning and creating as much as we can. My children are my top priority and I love that we can share this energy and excitement for learning together. But there is a small part of me that wants a bit more, a part of me that wants a chance to work with other kids too. I would love to take my love and knowledge for science and math and do something with it, while still creating a wonderful homeschooling experience for my children. The answer is not yet clear for me as to what I want to be when I grow up but this experience, this chance to lead Faith and Play, has me one step closer to figuring it out.