A couple of teacher friends of mine have, in the past, asked me to come and talk in class about writing. I said “No”. For over a year I said “No”, and one of my friends let me be and one of them just continued to cheerfully hound me.
The more she asked the more I realized that I knew exactly what I would say. I even had a file of lessons that I’d created just in case…. But when I finally boiled things down to their essentials I realized why I kept on declining.
My pride wouldn’t allow it. I wanted to be a “real writer”, a published author, someone whose words would be respected and considered credible, before venturing out into a scary situation where I was bossing other people about their writing. I had the skills, a background in early childhood education, years spent reading books on how to write, morning after morning spent waking at 5:00am to write. But I wasn’t legitimate, and so I said “no”. But she finally wore me down. And I realized something important.
I could wait for a credential to empower me into action, or I could simply help. She just wanted her kids to get to hear from a new face, a slightly different take on an old subject, and I could do that. I could go to my friend’s class and be a part of the amazing learning environment that she has created, be that new face, that different perspective, without being a legitimate novelist…if I could let go of my pride.
And I did it. Last week I spoke to a wide-eyed first grade class about “setting” and it was so very fun. The kids were amazingly attentive and excited and although I did misspell several things on the chalkboard, I managed to do alright.
And now a different first grade teacher, someone I don’t even know, has asked me to come to her class. And you know what? I swallowed down that dark sticky little bit of pride that told me to wait…and I said yes. Because it’s fun, and I can do it, and there is even a slight chance that I am being somewhat helpful. If I can let go of my pride.