Teacher Tom's archived post I'm an Idiot. As always, it triggered my thinking.
I thought about all the times I did something silly in a class of kids...and didn't even think about it. I may say silly rhymes or ponder what one of the kids would look like with my beard or make a mistake about how to do something. I may tell or laugh at incomprehensible knock-knock jokes. I may sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" until I'm breathless and red in the face.
And not even care about it. Until another adult is watching. (Well, not my fellow teachers. I know they understand.)
Then all of a sudden I get self-conscious. I think how it must look for a grown man to wiggle and giggle and freeze to music. I recently had this experience one week at church.
My group of kindergartners had to travel through the building. I had 15 5-year-olds trailing behind me (and in front of Mrs. Cindy) as we walked down the halls, rounded corners and maneuvered all the jags of an older building. Then we had to walk through the large empty gym (and keep some kind of order).
As we entered the gym, I said to the kids closest to me, "I wonder if we can walk and balance on this black line." I stepped on the line and stuck out my arms like a tightrope walker. I moved down the line, wobbling my arms back and forth to keep balance. Kids fell in behind me as we moved along the line.
Then it happened. A class of parents was meeting in a room off the gym. And the door was open. And the class was facing the door. I walked by a group of adults, wobbling and balancing on the line. "Oh, no," I first thought. "What will those adults think of me?" A few parents of my kids were in the classroom. Then I thought, "I hope they are glad their kids have a silly adult as a teacher." And then my thoughts were immediately back to the kids. (I usually know what the kids think of me!)
When I was younger, I would often try to censor that silliness when around other adults, tone it down to make it more palatable for adult consumption. Now, not so much. Oh, I don't break into "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in line at the grocery store or tell odd knock-knock jokes to folks at the office. (Well, not often.) But I don't worry about looking silly. After all, I'm a preschool/kindergarten teacher. Silly is part of what I do.