My schedule at work is kind of crazy. After lunch, my day is packed with six to seven regular lessons back-to-back (I ain’t complaining though; there are worse things. Also, the overtime pay is nice money). The breaks that I do get are the 10-15 minutes between each of my classes. Sometimes in that time, though, my manager likes to squeeze in a 10-15 minute trial lesson for me to teach potential students.
After a couple weeks, I began to get a little used to trial lessons though, you know. One day, I had had a trial lesson for a baby. She was probably 2 years old. Her name was Sola. I saw her, and I said ‘hello’ with my brightest smile. She was friendly and smiled joyfully back, and then I invited her into the classroom and all the calamity of the great winds shook the earth as she began to cry. Her mother tried to get her come in, but she refused to even cross the threshold of the door.
Most people get frantic under pressure especially with such time constraints, but I don’t usually and I didn’t then. I could feel the walls of time closing in on me, but my heart stayed still and steady. You have ten minutes and two options, but either way you will have to make it through a lesson with a baby crying (what is this job I’ve signed up for?).
I only had a little time to figure out something good, but when time is scarce your mind works in an amazing way to think faster than you can even process. It’s like you’re working two steps ahead of yourself.
You can make this a ten minutes of crying: wait for the screams to reach your manager at which point she’ll return and together you’ll attempt some Team Comfort Operation that may or may not even work. Even if it does, your ten minutes will be over by the end of it. I couldn’t have that–too much crying and I wouldn’t even have a real lesson to show for it. I gotta do this my way.
I don’t have a personal classroom, so I carry a large bag to each my lessons. I re-pack it between my breaks with the necessary books and materials, but it has become like a Mary Poppins thing. I carry the Big Comfy Couch on my shoulder. Whatever the kids want, I need, and I started throwing the works at this two-year-old.
“What are these?” I said in my sing-song voice, handing her a series of colorful rings that built into a tower. It was like I was watching it all happen in front of me. I worked faster than I could think myself. She loved that. Keep singing, more toys. I had pulled out every toy I had, but I had especially saved the best for last. The first few toys had slowed and eased her sobs, but the golden ticket lured her over the threshold and securely into the classroom.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe it had even worked, but for some reason the children love to play with balls. She froze when she saw it and followed it carefully with bright, wide eyes. It was a success and only in a matter of seconds. I still had time to spare for a significant lesson. This mom’s contracting today–watch me, I thought.
We played with the ball for a little while longer, and the baby turned into an eager bundle of joy and freedom. I could tell the mother was pleased. What mother wouldn’t be pleased? I was amazed! I couldn’t believe she stopped crying and now she was playing with me. She loved it!
Later, my manager told me that she had indeed contracted. “Really? That’s great!” I smiled. I knew she would. And it was moments like that where I could only thank God. I wouldn’t be so bad at this after all.