Here I am, day two at “local elementary school”. First day went well. It was only the second day of school, so the majority of my time was dedicated to meeting teachers and trying not to get lost in this horseshoe shaped building. I trailed along with my supervisor and his other (3rd year) intern, trying to keep up and participate in the conversation of two people who have worked together long before I arrived, observing the Kindergarten assembly.
My supervisor and the 3rd year walk the halls with a purpose. They seek out kids they know, say “Oh, we should check on little Johnny, he always has trouble adjusting the first week of school.” I smile, nod, ask about Johnny and his mother, and sit next to them in the back of the classroom while they observe. I try to observe too, but I am more curious about why there are 4 adults in this classroom and who they all are there for. It feels silly to be asking my supervisor such questions when I used to be the person people sought out to get the answers.
It is in this manner I find I am reconciling myself to a new role in life: the sidekick. I’ve previously felt more like the hero of the show. Legos start getting thrown, an all out riot ensues, and in I come to wade through the flying spit and lisped obscenities and restore order with a single deadly look or a startling “EXCUSE YOU?!!??” that inevitably causes all five year olds in the general vicinity to scurry to their seats.
And now, I am Robin. My costume is less cool, the green tights causing me discomfort and making me feel awkward about engaging in the fray lest I get a run in them. I am aware that I have a lot to learn, that my Batman is very good at his job and is already proving to be very good at teaching me the new things I have to know. But there is still a part of me that is frustrated: kids are kids, and fighting crime is fighting crime, no matter if it is in Gotham or Metropolis.
So now my reflection that leads me to believe I have put myself in this ridiculous outfit. Holy inferiority complex, Batman! This is not the first time I have had to carve out my own niche and find some self directed moments of brilliance. Kids ARE kids, and building relationships is always the first step. I have no idea why I thought my new title of “intern” should deprive me of all the skills I have gained prior to this point. I guess this has then lead me to the make or break moment: go find a classroom and begin the same way Batman does; “Hi! How can I be helpful?”