First day teaching. Not too nervous. My co-teacher is going to do the opening activity, and then I just have to tell the story and get to the point. No big deal.
My co-teacher doesn't seem to be here. Okay, getting nervous. A couple of my kids are gone, and there are four new kids for my class (some are just visitors). Deep breath.
The boys are hitting each other. Tell them they shouldn't hit, but they can if they are gentle and only if they fist bump. Once. Dumb idea. The "cool teacher" is not working. They sense I am trying too hard. Move them over, sit in between.
"Where is our other teacher?" Snide inquiry, trying to cut me deep.
"I believe she is on vacation." Trying not to show my annoyance.
"What?" Devastated disappointment.
Opening exercises. They are super wiggly today! Off to class. Herding sheep. 12 kids spread out, meandering down the hallway to the very far end where we are tucked away from view. Somehow we have an extra--a stowaway who wants to be with her sister. Send her off to the right class. Set up more chairs. Boy-girl-boy-girl--it is just easier. Review names--mostly for the visitors, but some for me.
Start with the game I had prepped for the end of class--need a distraction to hide my nerves.
Send: Looking next to you, please say one thing about that person that makes them a good friend. If you really don't know that person, what have you observed?
Tell stories about my friends. Tell about K, who I knew I would be friends with the moment we met. They are enraptured by stories of my playing with her hair until it was huge.
I tell about B. How we weren't necessarily friends at first. She was too girlie, and I was more of a tomboy. She was annoying, and I was too busy. Over the years, we became close friends after going through a lot of stuff together, watching each other's back, providing moral support. A collective gasp when I reveal that she is also my sister--and that we live together.
Do: Each person choose one thing they can do to be a better friend.
Be a better listener. Serve. Give good advice. Be patient. Encourage them to be better.
Read: 1 Samuel 18-24ish, David and Jonathan.
Start with a little backstory--recap. Samuel, the boy prophet. Saul, the king. David and Goliath from last week. Work on the story. Their eyes are getting big, and they are hanging on my every word. They smile as I explain the friendship of Jonathan and David--knit together, bffs. Their little brows furrow as I talk about Saul's festering jealousy (and I explain festering). We read a little, and when I stop the reading, little F says, "But I wanna know what happens next!"
When I get to Saul's betrayal and attempt not just on David's life, but his treatment of Jonathan, they are filled with righteous anger and a slight need for justice. And then I get to David's reaction when it is all over, upon hearing of Saul and Jonathan's deaths--a stunned silence fills the room.
A tiny voice, "But how did they die?"
"In a battle. Fighting the people that David had been protecting them against."
Quiet as I have yet to experience from them. They are like different people. Transfixed by the story, lost in their own imaginations, each one's expressions play out as if they are watching a film. This moment, I love. This moment, I'd like to freeze frame.
A quick recap of the friendship, and why we should be good friends, and who is our ultimate best friend--Jesus Christ. My testimony of my friendship with the Savior. They are still completely with me--I'm not sure what to think of it--where are the kids I came in with?
Interrupted and told it is time to go back to primary. Half of them aren't ready to leave yet. They want to know more. To know why. To ask questions.
I may be able to handle this.