I got the privilege at the beginning of this week to be a guest reader at one of our local elementary schools. I normally work with older elementary students at the church, so it was a fun stretch for me to be in a younger classroom. I will admit I was nervous because I had never done this before. Jeremy has been a guest reader numerous times over the years and I was asked to join him this year. Now when I say join him, I don’t mean read in the same classroom as him. We were split and sent to different rooms. I had a lot nerves in my tummy as I opened the closed door to the classroom I was supposed to read in. I don’t like to disrupt things and I wasn’t sure what I would find behind the door.
I introduced myself as the guest reader and the teacher asked me to go select a book while she finished up her lesson. Instantly, the kids were focused on me and telling me things like “You’re pretty” and giving me book suggestions. I decided on I Can Read with My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss. I figured since it was just Dr. Seuss’ birthday and it was a book all about reading that seemed like a good combination. I sat down in their reading chair and answered a few questions about myself. I was told I smelled good, that my shirt was beautiful and that my hair was nice and soft. I forgot how much younger kids don’t mind getting into your personal bubble. It was flattering, but at the same a bit overwhelming.
I was able to share a little bit about how much I love to read and I really enjoyed sharing the story with them. I did forget one part of a page and I was informed of my mistake right away. It was really cute. Once I finished my book the teacher told the kids that they could pick a book to read to me. I was mobbed by 20+ kids who all wanted to read to me. One of the girls sat down on my purse and jacket (I wasn’t sure what to say about this, so I let it slide) and started to read to me the book Go, Dog, Go.
At one point a student who was listening to the reader started to fiddle with some things in the classroom. Another student started to complain and wanted to see and touch the items as well. I suggested that maybe they put the items away so it wasn’t an issue. One of the students said “She said we should probably put it away” and the other responded by saying “She’s just a helper, not the teacher.” Wow! I’m not used to that. Normally my word goes with the kids that I work with. I wasn’t there authority figure and it showed. Since this was a small thing, I didn’t make a big deal out of it. The kids resolved the issues before it got out of hand.
The teacher was focused on fixing a computer with an IT person, so I just stayed on the floor and continued to be read to. Once it came time for them to move on to music, the teacher thanked me for keeping them occupied while she had this computer problem taken care. It was actually a blessing to me that I got to hang out these kids. I mean who doesn’t like to be endlessly complimented??? I’m also glad that I got to share my love for reading with those that are younger than me. I’m feeling inspired to see what it would be like to volunteer more in elementary schools. I think it could be a good way to have an influence on more kids than just the one that walk through the doors of my church. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I did it!