I love people but unless I initiate it I don’t like standing up in front of a large group of people. You see, I’m easily embarrassed, especially when I’m unprepared. I guess it may be fair to say that I hate surprises ... well, most of them anyway (there are always some exceptions to every rule).
Anyway, there I was, minding my own business and helping the children when I noticed some furtive looks and smiles coming from some of the other children in different sections of the classroom. Suddenly I was called up to the front of the class as a few of them danced merrily in front of me: they were the Pied Pipers and I was following their lead. I felt like a giant suddenly – all the Year 3s seemed like little ants around my legs. Maybe it was because all their little eyes were on me and they we all in on the secret that I had no idea about.
I was thinking ‘What are they going to do?’ They’re only small people but en masse they are a formidable force. I wanted to run out and claim I had a prior appointment but I knew that wouldn’t be true or make any sense, especially when I had to face them again next term, so I stayed put and tried to exude confidence and calmness.
The lead teacher started to talk ... something about gratitude for my time and effort with them. I could hear her and see her lips moving but I was enwrapped by the shining faces in front of me and the ripples of applause that were coming from all corners of the room and settling at my feet.
They were showing me their appreciation and I was so touched I felt the usual tears start to build up in my eyes. Fighting them back I took the beautifully wrapped gift from the two pairs of outstretched arms directly in front of me. I know I was smiling and talking, but again the actual words are a complete mystery to me at the moment.
Somehow I got back to the door and, extending season’s greetings to all of them, I beat a hasty retreat.
Feeling blessed I signed out at reception.
As I went to leave the receptionist opened the partition and smiled at me, “Did you get your chocolates from the children?” she asked gently.
“I did. Thank you.” I smiled back and pointed to my bag, “They’re in there. Thank you all very much.”
“And to you.”
“See you next term. Take care.”
And with that final exchange I went out of the door into the cold wind but I knew that nothing would remove the glow of affection that had settled around my heart.