I hurried up the sidewalk and breezed into the temple. One hand waved manically at all the faces I hadn’t seen in three months while the other scribbled a signature on the sign in sheet.
It was the first day back at Sunday School and–of course–I was running late. Former students called out to me as I ran past them to the teachers’ lounge. I blew them kisses and promised we’d talk after school. Yeah…probably not. See? I’m a great teacher.
After retrieving all of the various materials, finding my classroom, and pulling up the day’s schedule on my phone, I glanced up at the clock. Class started in two minutes. Just enough time to write the schedule on the board. I was definitely nailing it today.
I finished the cursive “e” in Welcome! with a flourish then drew a happy face–because I’m cool like that. Don’t judge.
The panic had begun to subside. I was ready to get back in to it. I had about thirty seconds to center myself and find that dynamite balance between cool young teacher with the tattoos and stern no nonsense teacher who will teach you whether you like it or not. It’s my sweet spot with sixth graders. They’re just young enough to be impressed by broke twenty-somethings. Score!
8:30. Class started. Only, today was a special all-school assembly in the lobby. I had forgotten about it despite having written it on the board a minute ago. The anticipation deflated as I waited and the minutes ticked by. I could hear cheering from down the hall. Good old Dara, getting all the kids psyched for another year. If I had half as much of her energy, I would be the most productive person on the planet.
I pulled out my phone and checked my non-existent text messages. At eight-thirty on a Sunday morning, most of my friends were still asleep.
Minutes later, the cheering changed to a roar of voices. It got louder and louder.
The children were coming.
My heart beat a little faster. No matter how many times I did this, there was nothing so nerve-wracking as standing in front of a room full of eleven-year-olds who didn’t want to be there.
The door burst open and faces both familiar and unfamiliar launched into the room. They naturally segregated themselves–boys at the window, girls toward the door. When the room was full, their chatter died down and fifteen pairs of eyes turned toward me.
Here goes nothing.