I’d like you to “meet” Marc Julien, teacher-librarian extraordinaire at Eldorado Public School in Brampton, Ontario. Quite simply, he brings the awesome always.
In late April, he sent me this via Twitter:
It was one of the most touching tweets I’d ever been sent, and featured a sea of smiling faces inviting me–yes, me!–to be a guest storyteller. I was honoured and humbled so I agreed to the visit. Heck, I have two small kids so I know storytelling!
I’d recently read “I Am Invited to a Party” by Mo Willems to kindergarten students at Eagle Plains Public School (@EPKindies) so I felt ready. Little did I know that @MisterJsLibrary had different plans for me!
You see, Marc had upped the game. I was now playing the role of Piggie in a puppet show!
I didn’t take Drama in high school. I avoided live performances like the plague because, after all, I am an introvert. (really, really)
But I’ve grown up, matured, am comfortable in my own skin…right? I psyched myself up for the performance, rehearsing with my 8-year-old daughter at home. I’d memorized the lines and practiced with a sock puppet while hiding behind the kitchen table.
I’ve got this. Let’s go.
Showtime! And a wrench.
On the day of the puppet show, I arrived in @MisterJsLibrary. I scanned the room for the puppet stage. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.
So I asked about the stage and Marc said, “Oh no, we perform *with* our puppets. The students see us the whole time.”
Truth be told, I was freaked right out. For two reasons:
1. I was performing for kindergarten and grade 1 students. Their honesty is a treasure and a curse–especially for those of us who don’t take criticism well. Really, who wants to disappoint a 4-year-old?!?
2. After spending one minute with Marc, you know that he is the real deal. A larger-than-life nurturer. A teacher in education for all of the right reasons–to spark curiosity and wonder, and to inspire success, confidence and hope in the students he teaches each day. I could not even come close to his fabulousness.
But here’s the thing about Marc…he’s also the type of teacher that inspires adults. He did that for me as I prepared to take the stage as Piggie.
I never confessed to Marc that I was totally freaked out before showtime–I played cool, calm and collected Carla. It wasn’t easy, especially after he told me we weren’t going with the script and that we were IMPROVISING!
God bless, Marc, and his on-the-spot, throw me to the kinderwolves approach.
This is what transpired as a result of his unspoken high expectations of me as Piggie-the-Piglet:
Best. Time. Ever.
The entire performance lasted only five minutes. But the lesson I learned that day will live with me forever:
When our life’s purpose is to touch the lives of students in positive ways and to bring smiles to the faces of little ones, we must check our insecurities at the door. And to do that, we must feel secure in the presence of others–to trust that we’re in this together like Elephant and Piggie.
This will forever be one of my most treasured Peel District School Board moments, made possible because of Twitter and the relationships we form with our colleagues. But most importantly, because on this day, I stepped completely outside of my comfort zone and gave it a try.
Thanks for playing the role of Gerald the Elephant, and of my whispering heart, Marc Julien.