I had to do team building exercises today after work. My football coach of a principal thinks it's good for all of us teachers to occasionally come together and do things like three-legged races and water balloon tosses. Because 50 year-old science teachers love obstacle courses and the like. (Mind you, I am NOT a 50 year-old science teacher, I am a 31 year-old theatre teacher, but this did not appeal to me in the slightest so I'm assuming most of the other folks I teach with - who are middle-aged or older and very conservative; it being the south and all - weren't too keen on it either) I got out of it last year some crafty and clever way but I didn't figure out a good excuse in time this time around so I had to go participate.
Well, this year one of the team-building events was a rock-climbing wall - the type that they use to train military peeps. So I'm sitting there on the ground watching my fellow teachers try to tackle this humongous wall. Some of them made it look really easy, scaling to the summit in what seemed to be mere seconds while looking like spider monkeys wearing pants. Some of them made it look really hard, complaining about the pain, the fear, and never getting more than 2 feet off the ground. After a while I realized that I really wanted to try it. It looked scary, heck, it looked downright terrifying. But I wanted to see if I could do it. So I asked for a harness and got in line to wait for my turn. When my moment finally came I made a mistake - I looked out at the crowd of teachers - a hundred or so dignified individuals whom I respected and whose approval I sought - squinting up into the sunlight to keep tabs on who was making it to the top of the rock wall. I realized I couldn't do it, not with everyone watching me. (I'm a flipping THEATRE teacher here people - do see the irony for Pete's sake???) All I could think of was what if I fell? Or slipped? Or smacked into the wall and knocked myself unconscious? I thought of a million ways I could make a fool of myself in front of everyone and then I HAD AN EPIPHANY!
That was EXACTLY what I was asking of each one of my students to do every day.
Do this thing (we teachers say) - for some it's easy, for others it's hard but you have to do it, and you've never done it before, and you have to do it in front of everyone else.
So I climbed that rock wall all the way to the top and rang the bell as loud as I could. Because I sure as shit ain't gonna ask my students to do something if I ain't got the guts to go for it too!
(It was SO FREAKING COOL!!!!!)
P.S. In case you're wondering yesterday's bake sale raised $1600 to help pay for the surgery :-)