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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: Not A Storyteller
By Bella Louise


I stared at the sea of expectant faces before me. About half an hour ago, I had discovered that not only was I teaching Sparkle, my beloved class of three to five years olds, but I was also supposed to be telling the children (all of them, not just my own class) the story. Initially, I had thanked God most sincerely that it was a story that I knew well, the feeding of the five thousand. My mother, a born storyteller, had told a modern version to her own students (real students in a primary school, not a Sunday School), and if I thought hard enough, I could scrape together the fragments and tell it myself. The assembled three to twelve year olds (as well as Josh, another one of the church youth and my helper for the morning, and Ruth, who had once been my own Sunday School teacher), were staring back at me hopefully. I began to speak.

Unlike my mother, I do not possess the gift of storytelling. I can create well enough when my fingers hit the keyboard, but when I try to communicate those thoughts to others through the spoken word, the following happens.

“Once upon a time... no, no, that's not right.. well, there was a boy called Ben with a younger sister... who was ill... really really ill, and um the doctors didn't know what was wrong with her... well, anyway, this boy Ben was watching Newsround one day and he saw an an article about a Man telling stories in the isles of Scotland. Has anyone been to Scotland?... Oh well. Never mind. Anyway...”

Eventually, having stumbled my way through the story and maimed it unrecognisably, I stood up hastily and walked over to Josh, leaving Ruth to rescue the story, which she did expertly in a matter of moments. The expressions of confusion left the faces of my previous audience, and the class moved on to something else.

Josh reassured me that it was fine and even congratulated me on a job well done (presumably the expression on my face clearly demonstrated that I was unhappy), but I was not very much consoled. I know him well enough to know that he was just being polite. The class ran its course, and, as Josh and I were clearing up afterwards, I confessed to him that I felt like a muppet for ruining the children's story. I had already apologised to Ruth for leaving her to clear up the wreckage behind me, and she had told me to think nothing of it.

“Do you think I should be a teacher at all, if I'm such a useless storyteller?”

He didn't bother to deny that I was a rubbish storyteller this time. He looked at me (he still has to look up to talk to me, but it won't be long now before it's the other way around), and replied. “For pity's sakes, Hannah, did you become a teacher because you could talk well or because you love children?” he asked.

I shrugged sheepishly and continued with my work. As we were washing up, a girl that I used to teach and still babysit for came rushing up to me. “Aunty Hannah Aunty Hannah!” she exclaimed excitedly, or as excited as Charis ever gets (she's a very sedate little girl). I wondered what had managed to enthuse her so. She threw her arms around my legs and pushed something into my line of view. A very neat, textbook basket appeared. Everything that Charis does is neat and textbook. I admired it dutifully, before she told me that she had enjoyed today. “Your story was a bit strange,” she admitted, “but it's nice to have you back.” She walked off in a remarkably dignified way for an eight-year-old, leaving Josh smirking at me.

“I told you so,” he said unnecessarily.

“Oh, shut up,” I replied with a laugh, and flicked some washing-up bubbles at him.

I remember, now, that I didn't become a teacher because I could tell stories well. I didn't even become a teacher because my mum is one. I became a teacher because when there's the face of a child looking at you, a happy face that was previously sad, that's the best feeling in the world.

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This article has been read 733 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rhonda Clark11/02/06
I really like your opening line. This story has some great bones, but it is hard to follow. Too many (). So much potential here. Great job.
Dan Blankenship 11/02/06
I had no problem reading the entire story. I do wonder what is so wrong with being a muppet?

(confessed to him that I felt like a muppet)

Muppets are cool...

May God bless.
Dan Blankenship

Bella Louise11/03/06
Muppet is an English substitute for 'berk' or 'plank', etc. ;) But I agree, muppets are cool.
Joanne Sher 11/03/06
Very heartfelt telling. I really enjoyed the beginning and end of this!
L.M. Lee11/03/06
the greatest reason to teach is love of the subject or the students...nice reminder
Grace Brooks11/06/06
I can relate to this story. I was asked to take part in writers visiting schools and all day I stood in front of a podium, class after class, and talked to the dark haired natives about writing and getting an eduvation. they stared back at me, all interested, and at the end of the day I left, feeling warm inside because I had planted in these natives a thirst for knowledge. I've written a poem on this subject, should post it.
Grace Brooks
Michelle Maginness11/06/06
I enjoyed your story- it kept my attention. Mainly because I have completely related...why is it that some Sunday School teachers have the ability to keep full attention....while some of us...don't. ;-)
Janis Lord11/09/06
Your story of the storytelling was awesome!
As a former teacher of Sunday School and a teacher for over 20 years, I will back you up on your conclusion of why we teach!
Thank you for sharing.