I recently started thinking about my last job, which was in retail. Throughout my five and a half years of holding down that job, I recall fellow associates asking me about my career goals. I told them that I’ve been a writer since I was in elementary school. Although they were impressed, they would ask why I was working in retail. That was a good question. True, I didn’t know anything about fashion; however, I had to pay my bills and I had to eat. Also, I believe that ideas for writing are everywhere, no matter where a person works. As I think back to those conversations with my former co-workers, I can’t help but smile at their words about my “deserving better than retail.” It’s nice to have that kind of support. In fact, one did suggest that I become a teacher. “I don’t think it’s something that I’d want to do,” I’d confessed. I’ve always been an introvert and the thought of teaching an entire class scared me.
One day, however, I made a change by volunteering as a tutor for an adult literacy program at a local library. After all, it’s important for everyone to have the opportunity to read and write well. After I finished my first one-on-one session, the literacy coordinator asked how it went. I told her that it went well, that my student was appreciative of my help. During the rest of our conversation, I told the coordinator about my writing grammar and general education articles for an online column. After she read one of my articles, she was quite impressed and asked if I’d like to help her host an upcoming grammar workshop. I told her that I’d love to.
As I prepared to speak at the workshop for the evening–which took place a week ago–I was wondering if I was even ready for it all. I’ve never hosted a workshop and I’ve never been a teacher. I wondered if I would be good enough. “What am I going to say for an entire hour?” I wondered. Despite all my doubts, I remained calm. The room, eventually, was filled with students and tutors from the adult literacy program. Luckily, it was a small crowd.
After the coordinator spoke, she introduced me to the class and allowed me to take over from there. During my introduction, I found myself becoming tongue-tied as I fumbled with my water bottle. However, the students remained quiet as I continued. While I was doing my lecture on personal pronouns, there were moments when I’d get stuck. At the same time, I was afraid of what the students and tutors were thinking. Nevertheless, I kept going. During the rest of the lecture, the coordinator announced that she wanted everyone to work in groups to discuss their assigned grammar topic. I looked at the clock and realized that time went by so quickly. The workshop was half-way through.
While I assisted my group, two students expressed their appreciation for my lecture and told me that they’re trying to improve their reading and writing skills for a job opportunity that was coming their way. I smiled and told them, “I’m glad it was helpful for you.”
I was calming down after the lecture was over, especially when all the students were telling me “thank you” and that I made the lecture very basic and simple. That whole time that I was worried about what they’d thought of me, it turned out that they trusted me. That was a great feeling.
I told the coordinator, “Thank you for giving me this opportunity.” She assured me that the next lecture will better because I’ll have more practice. After all, she knew what it was like to start out as a public speaker.
Ladies and gentleman, that’s my story.