“I don’t know what I’m doing”, “what if the kids hate this”, and “this is not going to go well”.
I thought to myself, as long as I have a plan, I can figure this out. So, the week before the residency I planned EVERY single thing I could.
While this didn’t make my imposter syndrome disappear entirely, it made me feel like I somewhat knew what I was doing. Now I just had to do it.
The Plan Goes Awry
The first day meeting all my kids I realized two things. One – “these are the sweetest and most adorable group of kids ever”. Two – “I have to throw out everything I had planned…”
Talking with them, I realized that what I had in mind and what they had mind were very different and my plan wouldn’t work.
After that, every time I had to face the kids, I was terrified, because once again, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and kept thinking, soon enough everyone else was going to know it too.
Sophie as Santa
In one of my classes I had a student named Sophie, who was maybe 7 or 8 years old. The first day she called me to come to her desk so she could introduce herself, shake my hand, and tell me how excited she was.
This was her first play ever and she had never done anything like this. She really wanted to play Santa but was scared that she wasn’t good enough and asked if I thought she could do it.
I told her that if she wanted to play Santa, we will figure it out and she’ll do a great job. Her face lit up and she asked, “you really think so”? I still had no idea what I was doing but I told her “absolutely”!
Failures, and Figuring it Out
All week I was in a constant state of fear and panic – so much that I made myself sick and caught a bad cold, but we got through it and by the end of the week all that was left was the final performance.
It was out of my hands now, but I still couldn’t stop worrying that somehow something would go wrong, and sure enough, something did.
The other kid that was supposed to play Santa with Sophie, got sick and couldn’t make it. After all the time, effort, and stress from the whole week, I almost broke down then and there, and now I had to go tell Sophie that she couldn’t go on stage.
The Blind Leading the Blind
The reason I didn’t think Sophie could go on stage alone was because Sophie was mostly blind and without another kid helping her on stage she could get hurt.
When I went to tell Sophie the bad news, my heart was breaking because she had worked really hard all week. She had told me that her whole family was coming to see her, and that after the play she was going to a sleep over and she was going to tell them all about it too.
Luckily, before I even had a chance to break the news, Sophie told me that a boy from her class volunteered to step in so she could go on stage. He didn’t know any of the lines for Santa, or the blocking but they said that Sophie knows the lines and cues and together they’ll figure it out.
Was it perfect? No, but it didn’t matter – the show went on, the audience loved it, and Sophie was beaming with pride when she got off stage.