06 January 2008

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam!

I can't believe I've gone nearly a whole week without a post! I'm not sure what happened there.

At church, I teach Primary. This has been going on for quite some time now, and it isn't the first time I've taught Primary. When I was a senior in high school, I started teaching the Valiant 9 class (kids turning 9 during the calendar year), and that was a lot of fun. Those were some good kids, and it was great for me to teach the basics of the gospel at that time in my life.

In our last ward Eric and I taught the CTR 7 class (kids turning 7 during the calendar year) together. We taught the class for a little over a year and had two classes for about six months each because we started teaching in about June and classes change at the new year. Teaching that class was an entirely different ball game than teaching the 9-year-old class. It was much harder to maintain the attention of the kids and a lot more difficult to keep them reverent. However, I learned then that Junior Primary is tons more amusing than Senior Primary!

Then Eric and I moved again, and I was called to teach Primary again. I taught the Valiant 10 class. Entirely different experience yet again. And frankly, not as enjoyable and in many ways more difficult than the 7-year-olds. I think that was because some of them were "too cool" for Primary. I also think they were at an age when the activities that go with lessons were not really applicable to their maturity level. I started teaching them in September.

Because of the new year and the change in classes, I was asked to switch over to Sunbeams (kids turning 4 during the calendar year), and BOY! was I excited! I have two nephews who are in Sunbeams in their own wards, and I just think that age is a fun one. The kids are just beginning to really grasp basic concepts and yet they have attention spans comparable to goldfish. Plus, have you ever heard a 3-year-old talk? They say hilarious things! For instance, Nephew Dave calls himself a Sunbean, not a Sunbeam. I was really looking forward to teaching this class, and I anticipated that it would be extremely difficult to keep the kids engaged for 40 minutes.

What I learned today was that I, apparently, am completely terrifying to a three-year-old. Or at least that it will take the kids a few weeks to warm up to me. Keeping their attention wasn't very difficult, but I found their engagement levels to be minimal. In fact, it was pretty much a one-woman-show as I sang songs and did actions while encouraging the kids to join in. All the while, they merely stared at me either in complete and utter fear or simple fascination and amusement. The emotions varied depending on the time spent in class and the child.

I was really hoping to have some great "Listen to what the Sunbeams said today" stories, but that just didn't happen. Maybe as they warm up to me they will talk to me a little bit more. For now, this is what I've got:

In opening exercises, I sat next to Noah who kept his head down and wouldn't look at me even a little bit. As the meeting progressed, he gradually moved closer to me and began cuddling with me, still not looking at me. Then he climbed in my lap, but still wouldn't look at me. The Primary separated to our classes, and Noah obediently came to class (unlike a couple of others who were not thrilled to leave the big Primary room). Still, Noah didn't look at me. We played a game that involved the throwing of the cube. Noah would throw the cube, but still no eye contact. Somewhere along the way he quit being shy and started talking only for me to find out I couldn't understand a word he said! He speaks English, but he is really difficult to understand!

Also, in my class are Joseph who went with his mom instead of staying in class, Grace who was never afraid of me, Karisa who said about three words to me the whole time, and Logan who spoke to me a little, but only in whispers.

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