Friday, March 05, 2010

Jumping Off the Stage

The Kindergarten and First Grade classes at Snowden had a Black History Month program yesterday, almost a full week after that particular month had ended. I appreciate that they are trying to draw out their celebration of African-American achievements, but Connor didn't. He wanted it over with. Wednesday night he finally shared with us his intense stage fright, and Thursday morning when I left him at school, he was in tears. It seems he had done such a good job dancing during rehearsals that he had been moved to the front row. And he didn't want to be there.

Connor gets this from me. Yes, I spent a lot of time in high school dancing around in front of people in a short polyester skirt. But I never liked to perform solo, or really be featured in any way, and I HATE to be a speaker in a large group of people. Can you believe that? I love talking to a bunch of people, but not if I'm at a podium or on a stage- only if we're just hanging out talking. I think it's even a tiny part of the reason I quit teaching- I would regularly blush if I made a mistake in front of the classroom, just because I was always right on the edge of utter embarrassment from being in that spotlight.

When I was a kid, I tried out to be the lead in a musical at church. I think it was summer camp or vacation bible school or something. Anyway, I don't know what possessed me to try out- I have a vague memory that I was visualizing myself doing a good job, and thought I could will myself into it. Long story short, I got the part and then totally stood in one spot and whispered into the mic when the time came. I really wanted no part of it. My mom still makes fun of me about it- it was sort of a disaster.

The point of that is, Connor totally gets this from me. And so I'll always be sensitive to it, and I won't really push him to overcome that fear. It's why I wasn't bothered a few weeks ago when he told me, "I didn't want to try out for a solo." But he was committed to dancing in the front row yesterday, so all I could do was encourage him to try and have fun. And he certainly looked like he was having fun, but afterwards he told me it was hard to smile and that he was glad it's over. After I told him he did a great job and I was proud of him, I agreed that I was glad it was over too.

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