One of my 1st graders came up to my station to take the challenge. I asked him if he was ready, and he took a deep breath and started. He got a few phrases in and got stuck, so I gave him a tiny prompt. He did that thing where you look up and off to the side to try and retrieve something from your memory. His confident smile turned nervous, but I just beamed at him and said "I know you know this. Keep going!" He skipped over the next phrase, and then got stuck on the end. I stopped him and said, "Why don't you start over?"
He did. His confidence a bit shaken, but not defeated.
But wouldn't you know it, he started slow, but with each verse, his smile grew a little more. He did need one little prompt in the middle, but when he got to the "Amen!" at the end, his smile was from ear to ear. "Ethan, that was awesome! I knew you could do it!" "Thanks Ms. Regina!" Our simultaneous smile and high-five made my morning.
I still struggle with wondering if I'm being a good teacher to these 1st-6th graders, but that morning, I could see just how far we've come. I could see that they know I believe in them, and each one who triumphed through the challenge showed me that they're getting the message.
I know I'm not the only 30-something who looks around at her life and wonders how she got there, and longs to break from the momentum of the mundane to do something significant. But last Sunday was a reminder that sometimes those significant moments hide in the middle of the ordinary ones. I may only be an influence for an hour a week to these kids, but that doesn't make it small. ...I needed that reminder.