commit to being where you are

Come to think on it, it’s odd that I’ve never worked for hire as a teacher. (Except for those two and a half months, which isn’t really long enough to count.)

I enjoy sharing what I know, and watching others deepen their knowledge, as much as I enjoy learning new things myself. Which is a lot!

Much of my current Girl Scout volunteering lies in teaching. Informing new area volunteers (service unit directors) about the ins and outs of their new role—that was my Saturday. Helping new troop volunteers get a handle on the kinds of things their girls, with their help, can do. Modeling outdoor skills to adults… and then waiting while they perform them themselves.

Tonight I shared a firehose-stream of information about the Girl Scout Silver Award to a bunch of middle schoolers and some of the adults who care about them.

Generally, I come home from sessions like this one with extra electricity on the ends of my fingers. I’m tired, sure, because it’s Peopleing, and introverted me gets drained when I People for a while. But the joy I find in introducing girls to the possibilities that the Silver Award opens up for them pushes me beyond the tired. I particularly love the side conversations at the end, where girls share their Really Big Ideas, and we begin to grapple with how they might make them real.

Annnnd then there was tonight’s batch of late, loud, distracted, and distracting people. A troop of five girls and their two adults, 15… 20? minutes after we’d begun. It wasn’t merely the girls; I’m used to that… and in fact was making ready to deploy some of my non-verbal damping techniques.

I glanced over, and realized it was the adults with their heads down on the table, laughing, in the midst of the wiggly girls. What the sam hill am I to do with that?! Ignore them seemed my quickest choice, though it turned out to be really, really difficult. I kept assuming I’d regain my flow, but it continued to get disrupted. Mercifully, we only went 15 minutes over, but I know I lost track of most of the stories that both clarify and lighten the material. I didn’t give my best to the girls who were prompt and tried to stay engaged.

Reframing time: I’m glad this was the first time I’ve had this happen. I’ve been leading groups through this material for years, so perhaps this will be a one-off.

Note to self if I see this again: I will stop. I will turn to the group. I will ask them to step out until they’re composed and focused. I won’t run the risk of dragging that weight again.

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