As this semester concludes, I am in a period of self-evaluation and reflection.
While, in some ways, this semester has been my most successful with regard to my teaching; it also has been my most challenging.
True, the word “challenging” does not mean “bad,” but in this case – it might a bit.
On one hand, I was given a class that teachers dream about; it was all about the work.
Among the whole class, there was generosity, openness, willingness to do the work…trust. In a weird way, we were all the teacher and all the student; we all learned from each other, myself included. I cannot possibly expect to have another class like this again. I can hope…
On the other, not as much. That is not to say that the experience was bad; but it was hard work. Mind you, am not afraid of hard work; quite frankly, anything worthwhile is hard work, I believe.
But this is different:
I must be clear that there were some real gems in all my classes, some of the students were just absolute delights. Unfortunately, amongst the “gems” were some students that were challenging, at best.
I have been faced with several forms of resistance; the likes of which I fear I am neither equipped, nor interested in dealing with. I am speaking of the forms of resistance that are based in laziness and/or arrogance; I have no time for it. Moreover, I do have to question if these students are even aware of the kind of work this craft requires. Asked another way – I wonder, do they wish to learn the Art of Acting? or are they merely interested in fame? Trust me – they are two very different things. One requires years of dedication and intense training coupled with an acute sense of self- awareness; the other – the release of a sex-tape released on YouTube.
Take your pick. No judgements.
…but know what you want.
But it’s not all on them…what I mean is I do ask the question, “What can I do better?”
…a question I constantly ask myself.
Though I balance my role as an educator.
There was some criticism that found its way back to me: that my class might not have been as “fun” as other classes offered. I hear it, but it confounds me for two reasons:
1) we played a great deal of theater games. Maybe I emphasized the “lessons” too much? maybe I should have just let it be and play the games and let the students draw their own sense of relevance?
2) For me – the work IS the fun. Not only the research and rehearsal, but also the doing of it; the living in the crafted circumstances….I don’t know.
I do believe there were some that just weren’t interested in doing the work, period. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this – but I do not have time for that type of student. I teach to the top of the class; that is, I give to those students who put in the work.
Said another way, I’m struggling with my role as teacher here…vs. entertainer.
Add to that – this semester cost more than I would have liked.
Because of my schedule limitations (brought on by my teaching schedule) I was released from two plays that I had booked, and missed two significant auditions. This has caused me to rethink my priorities a bit.
I always maintain that I am an actor, first. I hate missing opportunities; I do not plan to allow that to continue.
2015 will be better, different.