Thursday, 23 October 2014

Not So Wonderful

Today I failed to in my efforts to eat the elephant 'one bite at a time'. I had mustered the energy I wasn't feeling and had, as James put it, 'switched on' for the group of school students to the point where it wouldn't be noticed that I felt like throwing up and lying down in a dark room. Whether it was my sinuses or side effects of the medication I just started, it didn't matter, I couldn't shift it. All I could do was rise above it and tackle one task at a time. I was doing well, acting as if nothing was wrong, welcoming the students and cheerfully asking them to join me in circle time, catching up with their activities that week. As I took the sign-in sheet out, I thought I'd inject a little humour and positivity into the proceedings, so as I read out each name to mark them in I adding adjectives to their names like:

The wonderful ...
And here we have the great....
And the fabulous...
And we have the lovely...

I went through all the young people', who on hearing how wonderful, great, fabulous or lovely they were reacted with shy smiles and delighted laughter. It was really sweet. Then I went through the workers names and the students enjoyed hearing each adults name being called out in a similar fashion and even reminded me of a missing worker and I made sure I mentioned that the 'Wonderful Avril' was missed and they were pleased. Then I asked the name of the replacement teacher. She said 'Miss Muir', that her first name was too hard to say and anyway that's what the school expected.

I didn't swallow it. Instead, after saying 'and the wonderful Avril', I followed it up with a quieter lower toned, 'And the not-so-wonderful Miss Muir' to the shock of the few who heard me, including Miss Muir. I quickly redressed the error and said,  'I'm joking,' and said more loudly and cheerily, 'And of course the lovely Miss Muir.' And I clapped and whooped to overcompensate and bring proceedings to an upbeat end.

I was a little ashamed of myself. I should have risen above it. Although she was the only one to want only her surname used, I should have dealt with it better. I suppose I was disappointed that such a wonderful moment with the young people was slightly tarnished by her need to keep an authoritative distance between her and her students.

So to prevent this occurring in the future I will write into the contract between the schools and our centre that part of the way our informal education works is with everyone starting and being treated equally, which begins with our identities and our names - our first names first.

And I will try to continue to eat the elephant one bite at a time...however unpalatable the bite.

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