Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Enter Stage Right

A teacher, mentor and friend gave me a piece of advice that has resonated in my heart and mind for years:

"If you are going to be a good teacher, you have to be a good actor (actress)".


What did he mean?

Regardless of the kind of day I'm having, I need to set my personal difficulties/thoughts aside and teach as though everything were great for me.

That is a troubling statement--I can't share my life with my students? I can't be sad, frustrated, angry or discouraged?

I don't think that he meant that I had to be dispassionate and stoic with my students. It's much more than that.

I have a choice to make: 

will I let my emotions rule my thoughts, words and actions, 

or will I bring my emotions under control 

and think, speak and act professionally?


Especially in the present time my students see, hear and experience life controlled by free-range emotions. What they don't often see is caged emotions--emotions under control. I can, and should, be that model for them.


Acting is performing my duty to the best of my ability, 

subduing emotions and impulses. 


At the same time, I can share personal experiences and explain how I feel (and why), demonstrating for my students how to respond in a right way. These are the moments when what I teach goes backstage for a greater life lesson. Here are a few of these moments:

  • a special keepsake is stolen or carelessly broken; how will I react?
  • a student makes a rude or demeaning comment to me: will I retaliate or choose a different response?
  • a student dies: how can I help my students deal with their grief by how I deal with mine?

Do you rule your emotions or do your emotions rule you?


In what other ways does a teacher need to be a great actor?




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