January 20, 2010
By melissa.hammill BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
melissa.hammill BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My heart was pounding in my ears. Fifteen bright, young faces watched me expectantly. “Hi, I’m your new leader, Melissa.” I realized it was not the best thing to say to a group of fifth and sixth graders when I wanted their attention, but my mind was blank.

It was my first time on my own as a fifth and sixth grade teacher at my church. CCV was one of the largest churches in the valley. That was obvious just seeing how many students attended. Of course, I had gone through training with another leader, but now I was totally alone with the kids. If you do know this feeling, your heart is stuck in your throat. It is completely overwhelming.

I made it through the first day, an hour of talking, teaching, and supervising the children placed in my region. I was nervous so I knew it was not the best service these adolescents had gone to. I decided not to give up, and I made it my prerogative to improve as their leader.

I continued to teach at the church for several months. With time and practice this activity became one of the best and most memorable of my life. I got less shakey and more friendly and confident.

One Saturday evening I walked in early to the building. I immediately noticed one of the regular students who was already there. Her name was Allison. As we started talking and more people arrived, something caught my attention. Allison’s nametag said she was in the south region. I taught the east region, but she was always in my group. “Hey Allison, you know you’re in the south, right?” I asked. Her reply was simply, “Yeah, but I like you best.”

These children who had once intimidated me grew to be the highlight of my Saturdays. After the first month, I had a consistent group of kids in my region each week. As I spent more time with this group of fifth and sixth graders, I developed a relationship with them. These people began to feel comfortable confiding in me. They would come sit and talk with me before, after, and during service. I made friends with children I never expected would even like me.

This time as a church teacher was not just about the people liking me. These children, fifth and sixth grade students, really changed me. Their ideas, which they willingly offered, were simple and inspiring. I became a better leader who understood what was a good or a bad way to lead. I knew when to be serious and when to just have fun. I learned how to motivate without being too mean or nice. Each week I was excited to be back teaching these kids because no matter what mood I was in, they had a way of improving it.

The time I spent doing my community service at a church as a teacher impacted me. It really makes me feel good to think I may have left an imprint on the fifth and sixth graders I had the privilege of spending Saturdays with.

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