Teaching Gives Me Joy, and I’d Like to Share It

Teaching Gives Me Joy, and I’d Like to Share It

Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Exploration & Education

I have often been called a “giver.” I like to volunteer my time. I like to give gifts. I like to make people happy. I like to share the good things that I have. So, I thought I’d give folks the opportunity to think about accepting something special that I’m willing to give away: Joy. Teaching Religious Exploration and Education at UUCW gives me joy. I want to share that with you.

Picture this: sitting in a circle, lighting a chalice with curious children gathering around. They want a turn to light, or to read. Or maybe they have to be coaxed. Or maybe there will be one child that never says a word. But one day, the quietest one says they’d like to read the opening words, and they do, and it’s wonderful, and the next year they sign up to read or speak in front of the whole church. Joy.

Picture this: sitting in a circle, you read a story. The children seem a little squirmy, and maybe a bit fidgety. But you keep on reading, and you use your best, most creative voice, and in the end their faces are lit up with understanding. You ask a question: “I wonder how that person must have felt when that happened to them?” And you hear the children’s’ words, their opinions, their discussions. Even the one who looked like maybe they weren’t listening is now telling a story of when the same thing happened to them. You were nervous. Now you’re not. Joy.

Picture this: sitting in a circle, you ask the group to think about some issue in the world, in their life, or in their community that concerns them and that they’d like to do something about- stand up for. They are quiet. Nobody wants to go first. Except suddenly, one young person decides that they will. They talk about how they love animals and want to help protect them. Then the floodgates open and pretty soon every hand is up, talking about homelessness and climate crisis, and racism, and hunger, and education. Then you ask if they could try to plan a group project together to help with one person’s area of concern. And they put their heads together and they come up with an amazing plan. Joy.

I know a lot of wonderful adults who get lifted up every Sunday just by being around the outstanding children in our community. Ask a teacher. They all have a story to tell. Even though there may be a day when things don’t go as planned, teachers know that they are making an impact and that things do not need to be perfect in order to be important.

The fact that they took six Sundays out of their year to spend telling stories, sitting on the floor, crouched over an art project, or leading a discussion, is an act of love, and the children feel that. The children know they are special in your eyes, and they give back joy (even if it may take a little while.)

So, I’d like to give you the opportunity of reigniting your Sunday joy or experiencing it for the first time- or moving up from assisting in a classroom to leading the class. I personally guarantee that it will make you a better listener, giver, receiver, and juggler…and maybe even a better human. Spending time with children of all ages can do that to you.

Think about it. If you’ve ever taught at any level with us or want to explore how you can be involved…

Please take two minutes to fill out this TEACHING SURVEY. You won’t regret it. The way I see it is, most people never regret the sweet embrace of joy!

With a joyful heart!