I think maybe all of you reading this can remember your first dance from sixth or seventh grade. The kids want to dance, but they feel awkward or just plain don't know what to do. So they sit...and wait...and sometimes never dance at all. Well, I planned ahead with Energizers throughout the night and different dance games so that they wouldn't get bored, but I did have some extra songs so that they would have a chance for a break or to dance like they want. I think it would have killed me to try to lead the kids on my own. My helpers at the dance really came through for me. They had such a great energy, and when they were having fun the kids had fun. You'll see from the pictures that we all had a really good time and it was all because of their help.
On Sunday we had some activities at a children's festival in town. This was even more difficult for me, because most of the kids and parents that came through didn't speak English at all. I really tried to speak with people and the children(in Czech and English), but it's always the same situation for me when I try to initiate conversation with people who are not expecting my spotty Czech. They usually give me this "deer in the headlights" look and I have to say, "I'm sorry, my Czech is terrible." Once they recognize that they can understand me if they try, they speak back to me. I think I scared a few small children when they heard me speak English. I guess it would be kind of scary hearing another language for the first time. Some kids and parents did respond very well to me, but these were mostly the people who spoke a little English or had experience speaking in another language. Most of the the time, my helpers had to step in and help, and, oh, did they help. They did so much that sometimes I felt like I wasn't doing anything at all, because they knew what to say and they just went ahead without instruction. They were really fantastic, and I am so thankful for their support.
I can't finish this post without speaking about the faithful helpers that come every week to teach with me. They keep the kids in line, they encourage them as they work, they remind me when I forget something important. I really feel like we are team teaching at times. It has been a challenge for me to learn to work with volunteers. I remember that I only asked a few people to help with the Halloween Party. I should have asked at least 7 if not 10 people. The people that did come felt overworked, and I was still trying to do most of it myself. Over the year I've learned to plan for things that the helpers can do as well as realize I need help in the first place.
Note: I'm experimenting with using Picasa instead of Shutterfly. Just click on the top photo and it should take you to the album. Tell me what you think!