Writing comes naturally to me. Too naturally, sometimes. I’ll be in the middle of a situation or discussion (don’t worry, not with you) and a concept will start forming and I’ll begin to compose in my mind. I’m working on a separate blog post about that issue, but in short, writing is not a challenge for me.
Teaching is another matter.
I’ve been tutoring and involved in home schooling since I was 16. That’s generally a one-on-one experience. Two or three students at most, and they’re usually under the age of 12. In other words, they don’t expect too much. They’re forgiving and though they might remember (and remind me of) something I flubbed, they don’t hold it against me.
At the start of the year, while reading a book on writing, the author suggested trying one’s hand at teaching, perhaps at writer’s conferences or local adult education centers. That’s not for me, was my first response.
But the idea refused to let go of me, so I began to consider it. What do I have to offer? What could I teach? I came up with more than a couple topics:
- Working from Home
- Creative Writing
“Hey, maybe I can do this!” I hesitantly mentioned it to my husband, not because I thought he would disagree, but because I had a feeling he would encourage me. I needed someone to talk me out of this crazy idea. Standing up in front of … people!
My high school days rushed into my head. Speech class. Trembling, blushing, stumbling over words even when I had my papers right in front of me. Even in college, my heart beating faster when I know I’ll be expected to present something in front of class. At social gatherings, if more than a couple people tune into what I’m saying, an eraser wipes my words out of my brain and I find myself pausing, blinking, and failing at whatever I’m trying to verbalize.
Sure enough, my husband was completely supportive of the idea. So I put together a couple course proposals for community education and sent them off to Clovis Adult Education. And got a reply immediately! Within a week, I was going through the application process to become a course instructor. It took some time getting all that worked out: resume, reference letters, TB test, fingerprinting. That was the easy part.
Yesterday was the other part. The main part. Teaching.
I arrived early. Just in case. For the record, it was a good idea. The projector had been left on and overheated, so I had to get another projector brought into the room and connected to my laptop.
Power point … check.
Course attendees began to arrive. I managed to smile and greeted the first few, and exchange a few words. Then more came. Once more than five or so people were in the room, I began to shuffle through my papers. I needed something to hold on to. Something to center me. Ten people … watching, waiting. I remembered reading that the average person would rather have a tooth pulled than speak in front of people.
You can do this.
And I did. I might have fumbled over my presentation on blogging. I might have said “Uh” more than a couple times. And I did rush through that power point a lot more quickly than I had planned to.
But I did it! I taught a class. And I plan to teach more … a lot more (I’ve signed up to teach four courses this fall). As with everything else, it’s a learning experience. A small step, I know, but a huge one for me, and I’m so glad I took it. I’m grateful for the support of all those who encouraged me along the way and told me I could do it.
The other day, in a small group get-together, a friend prayed for me. Every week, I had been updating them on the progress in my teaching plan. He thanked God for the passion that I had in teaching. Passion? For writing, definitely. But teaching? I began to think about it, and realized that what he said was true. Just because it doesn’t come naturally and I’m nervous about it doesn’t mean that I can’t have a passion for it.
I realized, as I listened to the attendees’ ideas and vision for creating a blog, that I have an awesome opportunity. To walk someone through the process, show them how to do it and how to get the most out of it, so they can fulfill that vision they have. Whether it’s a ministry-related blog, a travel blog, a legal blog, or a photography blog, it’s going to be someone’s hopes and dreams and thoughts and words, out there for the world to see.Who knows how far something like that can go?
Playing this small part of showing someone how to do something and then stepping back and seeing what they can come up with and how far they can go with it … I guess that’s part of what teaching is all about. And yes, I could have a passion for something like this. Now to prepare for the next class!
[Have you taken a step recently towards something you thought you couldn’t do? Or is there something you’re thinking about and not sure that you can or should try it? I would love to hear about it and encourage you that if I can teach a class, you can take that step! You can fulfill your dream.]