By Patrice Trim
I've known the founders and teacher volunteers of Necessary Arts for years. I've admired their work and was always amazed at the amazing things they've taught and helped adults and children achieve. I would always joke and say: when I grow up I want to be like Naima or Penelope or Lydia. I never thought I'd actually have the opportunity to step into their shoes.
Naima asked me to teach a literacy class. I was nervous. I'm a teacher and interact with kids everyday but it felt I was being asked to step into some extra large shoes. What if I messed it up? What if the kids were bored and not engaged? What kid wants to do extra school work on a weekend? I was ready to quit before I even started.
Driving from Couva to Maloney I had butterflies in my stomach. I went over my lesson plan over and over on the hour drive. When I got to the community center I took a deep breath, jumped out the car and reminded myself that Naima wouldn't have asked me to do this class if she didn't think I was capable. I said to myself: "you've got this" and walked in.
Penelope was doing drama with the kids. They were so excited to do the exercises. My nervousness came flooding back. I'm almost sure a wave of nausea hit me. She introduced me to them. I guess it was too late to back out now. They were given a break and then it was my turn.
I stood in front of them for about ten seconds before I spoke. It felt like five minutes. I looked at their faces. They were filled with anticipation not dread. I started speaking and they were listening. Asking questions. Ready to learn and share. My nervousness disappeared instantly.
I shared with them my plan for the sessions. I told them about writing bio poems and discussing the rights of a child and making a list of their rights and responsibilities. They were ready to get to work.
We looked at the structure of a bio poem and I asked them questions about what is a noun or adjective. One little girl of about seven to eight max was so excited to share and give examples. I asked her name. She said: Lily and told me that her name was a proper noun. I high fived her. Another boy Isaiah said: a teacher that gives high fives, you're really cool!
Reach the Unreachable Maloney Day 1
I had won them over. I knew in that moment I had stepped into the shoes of some amazing women and I was making them proud. We spent the rest of the session brainstorming ideas and making notes to start writing the biopoems. After I dismissed the class I overheard a small group of kids saying they were actually looking forward to doing more work with me next week.
I'm looking forward to it too. Can't wait to see them grow as learners and express their ideas. This is going to be an awesome session with the kids from Maloney. I can't wait!