13 February 2011

The Thing About Teaching

I'm beginning to realize that just because one "big thing" or event is over doesn't mean you can stop and take a breather. Another "big thing" is always right around the corner.

This week turned out to be the week of nonstop teaching for me. In addition to the regular yoga and prenatal yoga classes I teach, I was in charge of hosting and teaching our home preschool Valentine's Day Party.

Then, I was asked to teach a yoga class to the ladies at church for a "slow down & be healthy" weeknight meeting. That night inevitably ended with me being doubled over in pain, as the walnut (I'm allergic) that I didn't know was in the "healthy" muffins digested.

It was also my turn to teach the lesson to all of the primary children at church for sharing time. And the whole Stake Primary Presidency was in there observing because it was ward conference, adding some additional pressure.

You would think that teaching classes would be a breeze for me by now, considering that I have a degree in education and have had a little experience under my belt teaching children and yoga classes. But I still get those nerves in the pit of my stomach every time it is my turn to take charge. I still spend hours preparing. I still go back and forth on ideas for presentation. And after the events are over, I agonize over what went wrong and what could have gone better.

What was I thinking including so many scriptures during sharing time when I was trying to engage a huge group of antsy children?

Did I even remember to talk about the sound the letter "i" makes at preschool? Could I have been any less prepared when it came to throwing together the Valentine's Day card holders for the children?

How incredibly distracting was it when my ipod speakers kept going in and out during our "slow down" night at church?

Did I really get confused about my "right side" and "left side" in front of my prenatal yoga class where I was supposed to be the professional? (I do the poses in mirror form towards the students, trust me, it gets confusing).

Sometimes I wish I could just have a complete re-do of the classes I teach. I would do so much better the second time around, not making the same mistakes.

Or not put myself under the stress of teaching at all. It would be so much easier to breeze by without ever having to be "in charge."

Troy keeps reminding me that the students will forget everything I said ten minutes after the events end (especially three year olds). But the perfectionist in me still gets frustrated that I'm not more confident. That my words don't flow more smoothly. That maybe an ounce more of preparation might have made the difference. 

But that is the thing about teaching. Once something is taught, it's out there. There are no re-dos. No going back.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy helping people grow. I love to see that expression on my students' faces when they hold a pose they never thought they'd be able to attempt. I love when the material presented might have changed or inspired someone to change or be a little better. I truly am honored to be entrusted enough to guide others with my limited base of knowledge.

I have a feeling that I am far from being done with teaching. Teaching opportunities are always going to pop up; that is inevitable. I'm going melt into a bundle of nerves again. I'm going to agonize over what went wrong. I'm going to panic the moment the spotlight becomes mine and then walk away with sweet relief when it's all over.

Maybe someday I'll be able to walk into a teaching position, with all eyes focused on me, and feel completely certain and confident. I won't miss any of the points I wanted to make. Maybe I'll be able to take the "me" out of teaching altogether. I won't worry if my words are completely fluid, if my poses are perfect, if I am doing it right. I'll be able to make it completely about them

Or maybe everyone else gets just as nervous as I do.

Regardless, it made my heart spill over with relief when the sweet primary girls "heart attacked" my front door with little notes of appreciation. After all of my agonizing, it was the little pick-me-up I needed until the next teaching opportunity comes knocking at my door, and then I'm sure I'll be right back to square one on the scale of nervousness.


5 comments:

  1. That "Creation" Sharing Time was amazing! When my kids talked about what they learned in church, they remembered the creation! Great job! as usual! Is it possible for me to be you when I grow up?

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  2. I definitely think that everyone gets nervous. Before a wedding I still get butterflies in my stomach. And then afterwards when I go through my photos, I do the same things as you -- think of what I should've done differently/better! I thought the feeling would go away after a few weddings, but I think we're close to 50 weddings and I'm still at about the same level of nerves as I was when I started.

    So maybe those nerves is just ourselves pushing us to be better. That can't be a bad thing, right?

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  3. It's because you do such an amazing job (and because you're a perfectionist) that you get so nervous! You could put about 1/3 of the effort into it, and the rest of us would still be impressed. But meantime, we are all wishing we could be a little more of the teacher that you are!

    Bummer about the walnut. No epi pen needed?

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  4. Wow I could really relate to this! Even though I wasn't there for any of this, I am certain you are being too hard on yourself, but I so have been there, like every week of my life! I sometimes wish that I could be 100% confident when I teach, and yet it gives me the opportunity to be humbled by my weaknesses and go into teaching with a prayer in my heart. Heavenly Father has made many of my teaching opportunities better than I could have done on my own partly because I have been nervous enough to rely on Him. I think it's good to go over things in our head once we're done teaching so we can improve, but it really is true that the things we think are embarrassing are things that most everyone else will overlook or forget. Keep doing your thing girl! You are awesome!

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  5. I think you're so great! Every time you taught YW's I was always so impressed with what a great teacher you are and motivated to step up my game (I miss you being there to keep me thinking about how to be better). Your yoga night was AWESOME with or without the ipod speakers! I mean that, you really have a gift for teaching yoga.

    And I feel really sad you got so sick off that muffin :(

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