Last night, I accomplished one of goals for this year. I finished up teaching my little group of fourth graders, and I have to say it was one of the best experiences I've had in quite awhile. I miss them already.
There were certainly some characters in my class, and throughout the year their personalities were evident. Every one of them got me laughing at some time during our eight months together. Last night, it seemed like half of them wanted to tell me a joke. Fourth grade jokes run the gambit. Some were quite funny and clean as could be, others pretty racy and not the best.
The thing that struck me yesterday is how comfortable we became as a class. Their prayer intentions ranged from the healing of their pets to the loss of a parent's job. Their questions were often right from the heart, and I was moved by their simple yet maturing faith.
Here's how I ended up taking this class. About this time last year is when I decided to teach a class in the fall. I was encouraged by listening to Joe Paprocki, one of the authors at Loyola Press, talk about his experiences in the classroom. He spoke about how teaching kept him grounded and focused on the actual work of faith formation, instead of being overwhelmed by the administration of it.
In many ways, I had evolved into more of an administrator than a teacher. Thankfully, Joe's presentation helped me realize this, and although I still have all my administrative responsibilities, I wanted to get re-connected to the joy that comes with being a teacher.
As it turned out, one of our fourth grade teachers was moving away, and she was going to leave quite a void. Peggy was always singing the praises of fourth grade, and how wonderful that age is, so I started thinking about taking her time slot.
I talked it over with my staff, and they gave it a thumbs up. Everything else just fell into place, and these past eight months flew by. It's hard to believe it's come to an end.
What I hope to give by telling you about my experience is inspiration. We all live very busy lives, and it sometimes feels next to impossible to give your precious time to a worthy cause. We come up with all kinds of excuses, but in the end, most of us a lot to offer, we're just unwilling to make the effort.
You can make a big impact in the lives of others by making an investment in them. Whether it be teaching, coaching, visiting the sick/homebound, working with habitat for humanity, or serving in a soup kitchen, there's always someone needing assistance.
Find your niche and go for it. You might just find you've found a talent you didn't think you had, and you'll bring a smile to someone's face. :)