Today at parent conferences I was talking to a very shy student about her lack of discussion during class seminars. I won't bore you with teacher details, but I confessed to her that I was the same way in high school and that I still remember the one day I spoke up in class to tell Rebecca DeGroot she was dead wrong about something in philosophy class. I then commented that it's really amazing that I'm a teacher because I hate talking in front of people.
And I was also a tour director where I had to talk in front of tourists all day. With a microphone. And don't get me wrong, I love teaching. But I brave the sea of teenage hormones on a daily basis. Willingly. Neither of those jobs really fit my college dream job of working in an archaeology lab. Or being an animator for Disney. (I'm nothing if not diverse.)
What did I love about both those jobs? Telling stories. I'm good at it (the humility button has been turned off today, can you tell?). I can see when I have my audience, be they graying retirees spending their hard earned cash on a dream vacation to Alaska or a group of jaded high school seniors with a massive case of senioritis. I can jazz up the story of Mighty Moses with his wire cutters freeing the Hebrews in Egypt or act out the Battle of Bunker Hill, complete with me standing on desks, shooting students with imaginary guns, and offering tips on how to take over the world (Rule #1- You MUST have the high ground!). I know when I've goofed the timing, can see where I need to improve the story the next time around for a bigger laugh, or more shock.
It didn't dawn on me tonight that even though I've finished a novel and am writing a second one, I've earned another title over the years: storyteller.
Yes, that's right. I'm a regular Homer. Except I'm alive and I can see. And I'm pretty sure I'm only one person. I'm not as famous though- that's still on my to-do list. :)
Are you a storyteller?