"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?