“On the day I left home to make my way in the world, my daddy took me to one side. ‘Son,' my daddy says to me, 'I am sorry I am not able to bankroll you to a large start, but not having the necessary lettuce to get you rolling, instead, I'm going to stake you to some very valuable advice. One of these days, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, you do not accept this bet because, as sure as you stand there, you're going to wind up with an ear full of cider.’”
Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls
As some of you may or may not know, my church is composed of a lay ministry. This means that people from the congregation get “called” (i.e. asked) to fulfill certain responsibilities such as teachers, youth leaders, etc. My calling until last week consisted in teaching a lesson once a month during the last hour of our three-hour church. It was a great, low stress, easy job. That itself should have been a sign that I wouldn’t have that calling for very long.
I saw it coming. Something was up. People (those certain individuals in leadership positions who make calling decisions) kept asking me too frequently when I was going to defend my thesis. It was like they were waiting till I was free from my academic bondage to spring something on me. Rope me into another sort of bondage before I had a chance to really taste freedom.
Yup. Sure enough, not two weeks after I defended, I get asked if I could “meet” with someone after church. That someone then proceeded to ask me whether or not I would be willing to teach Primary (the church program for kids ranging from 3-12), specifically, those kids turning 5 this year. To tell you the truth, he did an excellent job selling me the position. They (both the Primary leaders and the bishopric) felt very strongly about my teaching this class. They had even held open the position for me until I was free to take it. “I was the one for the job,” they said.
I was convinced.
I had visions of me teaching angelic children. I saw them sitting quietly with rapturous upturned faces while I imported spiritual truths to them. I imagined that years later they would look back to this time in their life as a time of enlightenment.
I now know, to quote Guys and Dolls, that I took a “sucker bet.”
I went in last week to observe the class that I will be teaching. Three of the five children are great. They sit in their seats; they answer questions; and they have an attention span larger than a gnat.
The other two though.
Oh my goodness gracious. Those two were all over the place. They had a two-second attention span and then they were off running, destroying, annoying……whatever they could do. There were two adults in the classroom (I was just observing this week, not teaching) and it was all we could do to not have complete nuclear fallout. I finished church absolutely exhausted and completely overwhelmed.
I had a whole butt-load of cider in my ear, and I wanted to cry.
So if any of you have any recommendations on how to successfully teach a class of five 5-year-olds without loosing my sanity in the process, I would be all ears. Seriously, I could use any and all help.