, , , , ,

You’ve been asked to do a five minute presentation to a group of young schoolchildren on the topic of your choice. Describe your presentation.

I have had experience doing this and I can happily say that I had fun doing it. When I taught French to the little ones for seven years, I occasionally went up to the upper grades to do a guest teaching stint and as you may well guess older kids, the pre-teens, need more from a teacher. They need to be persuaded that what you have to say has value either by establishing an instant authority or convincing them that they will really enjoy listening. I was able to establish instant rapports with all the grades when I would visit the upper classes because they knew that I was the French lady, so there was curiosity and many of the older children had younger siblings who talked about their daily encounter with Madam and what we did in class together, so the ice was already broken for many in the class.

I would teach them about Greek mythology, history, math or basic French vocabulary and whichever subject we were dealing with, I made a point of telling it through a story like lesson. My intent with the story was to personalize the lesson to their experience to make them see how applicable the lesson could be in their own life.

I remember that Greek mythology was a definite favorite amongst the upper grades, I was talking about cooking, French cuisine, spices and I mentioned the laurel leaf which I believe is another word for bay leaf. I told the story of how the laurel leaf was part of a story in Greek mythology. The God of music, beauty and light was Apollo, he was wandering along in a meadow and spied a beauty young nymph who was gathering flowers. Apollo started towards her and she was very shy so she ran, Apollo forgetting his manners, started running after her calling out for her to stop, but he had never introduced himself properly, so she didn’t know what his intentions were and being frightened she kept going. Nymphs just happen to children of River Gods, fiercely loyal and over protective of their beautiful daughters plus equipped with a sizable pair of sharp horns, our poor frightened nymph called out for her father’s help and since he was too far away to physically defend her, he could only use his powers to transform her into a laurel tree, safe from the hands and lips of the god Apollo. Apollo when he at last caught her, he found himself hugging the tree, no longer a nymph, Apollo kissed the bark of the tree and made a wreath with the leaves proclaiming the laurel leaf to be special and all future heroes would be awarded the laurel wreath upon victory. The kids always appreciated stories like that, they learned why past Greek athletes and Roman emperors and statesmen wore laurel wreaths; the god Apollo had blessed them with their significance.

I did really enjoy teaching those kids for those special classes, since I didn’t have them all day long, I had a fresh take on the whole dynamic. Make no mistake I was friendly with all of the teachers and I saw first hand how challenging and exhausting being a full-time teacher is, those kids will run you ragged, all the while surprising you at the craziest times. However, each teacher to the one, will say that teaching is their only choice as profession. It truly is a calling.