Decades ago, I wanted to teach. I chose Early Childhood Education as my major in college, began working at the campus childcare center, and tutored on the side. I got all the way through to my junior field, began to feel miserable and detached (or miserably detached), and realized teaching wasn’t for me.
Or maybe it was, just not in a traditional classroom, because I actually started tutoring more, leaving the childcare center for the tutoring one, and picked up another couple of students- from third grade to graduate school- on my own time. After graduating, I went ahead and got certified to tutor adults struggling with literacy and ESL. I never quite viewed it as teaching, per se, though. I think if I admitted that I was actually teaching… I’d probably break my brain or something.
Fast-forward some years, and after chronic illness forced me to resign my administrative job (in… wait for it… higher education), I became a full time, SAHM (alas, there was no TikTok yet for me to become a momfluencer). Within a year and a half, I began working with Z on “Learning through Play” in much the same way as I did years earlier as a teacher’s aide.
And now, she’s in middle school, and post-pandemic, no one really looks at me askew for homeschooling. In fact, I usually get asked how to do it, because they’re considering it as well. I finally embraced the label of teacher, too- as long as I emphasized “HOMESCHOOL” in front of it.
Then after Ash Wednesday service, my pastor began talking about how badly the church needs a Sunday School teacher. The current one moved back to her home country during the pandemic, and has been doing holding class over Zoom the last couple of years. Now the kids and the church, was ready to start back to in person class.
After praying and speaking with K about it, I knew I wanted to volunteer. Fear and doubt raced into my head- after three years of pandemic life, I still didn’t even go to church regularly. Who do I think I am to suddenly get in front of kids like I’m Holly Holiness? And I don’t actually go out regularly for anything anymore outside of doctors- mom is gone, it’s cold, I’m still not eating in restaurants or going to the Y for workouts. My walking has gotten worse, I get anxious in crowds. Just who do I think I am???
I’m one. I’m one person who cannot do many things, but can do something. And just because I cannot do many things, I did not refuse to do something that I could do.
So yesterday, I pushed my rollator into one of the parish classrooms, took a seat, and said, “Hi! I’m Ms. Alisha.” Then, I taught.
- If you struggle with anxiety like I do, try the Finch App. This is not an ad, lol, I’ve just genuinely found it helpful for over 6 months now.
- Read this collection of Scriptures on overcoming fear.
- Search your heart: what can you do this week to make this world better? To help a friend or neighbor? To better your community?