At our school, they have mentors come in every Friday and teach a class to the kids. The mentors can be anybody in the community (they have to be finger printed and do the whole safety check thing) that has a hobby or a talent or whatever that they want to share with the students.
With the younger grades (5th and under) they can range from just 1 lesson to several, just depending on the mentor and what they have to share. For the older kids (6th-12th) they teach them for a semester. It is kind of like one of their electives.
For the 6th-12th graders, they give the kids the list of mentor classes available that semester and the students get to rate them (1 being the one they want the most and so on) and then they make the classes based on their choices. So last semester, Kayla's first choice was dog training, which would have been perfect for her because she LOVES dogs but she didn't get it. She got a history-type class. Bummer. It was a good experience because she learned that you don't always get what you want and you have to make the best of it, which she did. She actually really enjoyed it.
So this semester we were excited to find out what she got. They were a little late getting the class lists out and posted them on the Thursday afternoon before the Friday class. Her first choice this semester was interior design. I even wanted to take that class. I was hoping the teacher would need a helper or something so I could crash the course. But what did she get? Improv.
Yes, that's right. The child that fears public speaking got improv. Wonderful. To be honest, I was frustrated. First she didn't get her choice last semester and now she didn't get her choice this semester plus she got a class that deals with one of her biggest fears. Urgh! So that Thursday night I contemplated emailing the mentoring coach and saying "what's up with this?" but thankfully I don't like to react when I am frustrated because I don't want that frustration coming out in my email so I waited. She wasn't that upset about it but I figured she didn't really understand what improv entailed. I sent her to school Friday morning not knowing how the day would go. All day, I kept thinking about sending that email but then I would think that I just needed to wait and see how her day went. So I waited. And waited. And waited. It was a long Friday.
And guess what? She loved it! My public speaking phobic child loved improv and she continues to love it. Go figure. I am so thankful that I didn't react right away and ask for a different class for her.
Then last week Kurt was at the school working on some landscaping projects and a friend that he knew a long time ago happened to be there. She has always home-schooled her kids and runs a theater club type program. Her theater group was at the school that day performing for the 4th-5th graders. They started talking and Kurt told her how Kayla got this improv class and she told him that they program they use to teach this improv class is really great for people who have a fear of public speaking and that battle with anxiety. Wow - it is almost like a class designed just for Kayla. Amazing.
So see, sometimes we don't always know what's best. I would have thought this class would be horrible for her and, come to find out, it is probably exactly what she needs. Amazing. It's kind of like there is someone who can see the bigger picture and knows exactly what each of us needs. Truly amazing!