This week it’s my turn to do the morning announcements at my kindergarten. Every morning, everyone in the entire school gets to listen to me say good morning to them. And then ask (and answer to myself) some questions I think youngsters might feel inclined to answer.
It has shown me/reminded me of several things:
1. I enjoy being in the spotlight.
Sometimes I don’t think I do, but I actually, in reality, very much do. I can be shy sometimes, and I’m pretty easy to embarrass, but I still enjoy attention.
2. Sometimes being on stage (or on mic) brings out the best in you.
One of my piano teachers once told me, “You play better on stage. Not everyone does, but you do. Being on stage brings out your best.” I randomly remembered that this week. I think that phenomenon applies to more than just my piano playing. Being in front of an audience brings out a certain energy in me.
Sometimes I dread being up in front of people. Not because I dislike attention (as I just clarified), but because I’m a perfectionist. I want whatever I do up there to be perfect, and I therefore feel pressured and nervous about it.
Those nerves, however, tend to work in my favor. They help me focus. They give me zing.
For example, I was definitely nervous when I did the announcements for the first time on Monday morning. I felt really jittery, especially because I was actually super tired. (It was Monday morning and I was fighting a cold.) What should I say? What if I lost my train of thought in the middle of one of my sentences? What if I paused for too long? Or talked too fast? What if I held the mic too close to my mouth and everything got all muffled and no one could understand a word I said?
But one teacher told me later that day that everyone was like, “Woah, she sounds so happy and energized for a Monday morning,” while I was giving the announcements. (Really? I was so paranoid that I was inaudible!) And today, another teacher told me, “You sound very happy during morning announcements, like you’re having a great time down there by yourself.”
I talk and laugh with those teachers all the time; I wouldn’t have thought my happy voice was unfamiliar to them. And don’t all the teachers generally sound happy during announcement time? But apparently a certain joyful energy comes out during my announcement time that I was unaware of. That special zing. (And it’s true, I am laughing to myself as I give the announcements..)
3. I like bringing joy to others.
People often seem to find me funny. I don’t always understand why, but I’ve come to accept it. I’m just being honest and real about something, and then people start laughing and telling me how funny I am. Sometimes it confuses me a bit, I must admit, but I do enjoy spreading the joy.
One of my students frequently shouts at me, “Teacher so funny!” (To which I respond, “You’re so funny!”) It sounds more like an accusation than anything else when she says it, but I take it as a compliment.
One of my fears going into this job was actually that the kids would never find me funny. I didn’t think I had much of a handle on kid humor. But just look at me now! I even have inside jokes with my kids! (They even started calling me “the jokester” today . . . Not sure where they learned that word or to what particular “joke” they were referring, but I’ll take it.)
4. Kids are observant.
Before taking on this new responsibility this week, the one thing on my mind was not messing up. That was it. I never thought about how doing the announcements might change the way the kids at school viewed me.
I usually think of kids’ memories (like their attention spans) as short. Which they generally are. But kids are also quite observant.
On Monday, I said hello to a random girl in the hallway. After we introduced ourselves, she asked if I taught upstairs. I wondered how in the world she knew that, but then it hit me. Maybe because of morning announcements? Maybe kids actually pay attention to those?
Suddenly I felt famous.
This morning, I announced to everyone that I was “a little sleepy but happy” (in answer to my question, “How are you today?”). When I went back to my classroom, one of my students asked, “Why teacher a little sleepy?” I was shocked. She not only listened and understood what I had said, but was curious as to the reason behind it? Wow, not everything goes in one ear and out the other! I felt so loved. And then slightly embarrassed that everyone in the whole school now knew the exact state I was in.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
I am one of those people who usually resists change and stepping out of my comfort zone (because the comfort zone is just so darn comfortable). But it’s good to do new things. It’s good to force your perfectionist self to get up in front of people every once in awhile. Certain gems and connections can only be created there.