Day 2 of my blog challenge! So far so good!
Today I finished my second day of teaching camp. About a year ago, I wrote a post (the one about not having enough arms) about this same job. I have come full circle this year and done exactly what I hoped. I transitioned from food service to working with children to supplement my acting career! It’s funny how completed goals sneak up on you. Since last July, I have taught six different elementary aged sections of Toy Design, one of Lab Science, one of Story Arts, and one of Architecture. I now know a surprising amount about bridges because of that class. I also substituted an occasional 1st grade hip hop class. If you’d like to take a moment get that special image in your head (me doing hip hop, not the first graders…they were cooler than me), I strongly encourage it.
I realized today one thing I’ve learned about this age…it’s confusing. Both for them and for me. The majority of my students this week at camp are between 5 and 7. And though I have acquired a vibe for this age, I had a crisis today justifying my lesson plan. Luckily it was only in my mind, because their projects seemed to go off without a hitch. But when they came in this morning, the group was clearly more in the mood to roll on the carpet and play with the expo markers than sit in a circle with me and talk about how great our imagination is or feed them my hippie propaganda. I can’t really blame them. I mean for 5 years you get to stay at home with your parents or babysitter and the world is your oyster. I remember. It was awesome. I think I read 10 Items or Less about 5 times a day with my mom. Then suddenly you go off to school, have to sit on your designated carpet square, and wave one of your limbs every time you want to talk. And your parents drop you off with strangers in a random building and leave. For the whole day. Of course that’s a shock.
Sequins to the Rescue
Don’t get me wrong, I love education. Hooray school. But I am definitely not going to force a 6 year old to stick to my silly lesson if she is overwhelmed with this strange shift in reality. One of my younger students today, a very sweet 5 year old, had an end-of-the-day meltdown during the afternoon. She decided she hated her picture and was on the verge of destroying it when I threw the lesson to the wind and asked her if she just wanted to go play with some sequins. Tears were gone instantly, and she happily bounced away and covered herself in sparkles for 30 minutes like nothing had happened. Don’t tell me as an adult you haven’t had those moments. You have those days where the train stops for 20 minutes, you blow an audition, or your bank account is lower than your age. I also sometimes want to give up for the day and play with sequins. I get it.
Moments that make it worth it
Of course there are many moments with kids that make all of those confusing or pull-out-your-hair classes well worth it. Here are my favorites from the past few weeks:
1. While babysitting, I was making princess puppets with a very adorable 4 year old girl. She took two round sparkles and put them on the princess’ chest. I had an “oh dear” moment when I thought I’d have to move them so they didn’t look like ta-tas. But then in the sweetest voice, she looked up at me and innocently said, “Those are her bosoms. We will make her an invisible bra now.” I almost died from cuteness. Fair enough, I thought.
2. We play a Pandora Disney station in our classroom. Today, oddly enough, “Call Me Maybe” came on. I almost ran to the computer to jump ahead. But before I could, my class turned into the Von Trapp children and all started singing along word-for-word.
3. And last but not least…my favorite picture of the day (I mean this with complete sincerity)…It reads “Justin Bieber, AKA sloppy Fred.” He is said, “Come back hat!” No clue why, or what this means. But who cares, really. It’s awesome.