Empowerment through Language...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Self-Reflection in the Craft of Teaching Artistry

Last year, one of the teachers I was working with had to miss one of my days in her class to attend a professional development opportunity. She asked if I would mind if her student teacher videotaped one of the classes so she would not miss out on that part of the process of my residency. I consented eagerly and at the end of the school year she mailed me a lovely DVD of my classroom experience.

I admit that I do not like pictures of myself, like most humans, and I am very self-critical when I view them. For this reason, I avoided my movie self-portrait until the other day when I was working on some promotional materials. I faced my own reluctance and started watching to see if there were some pieces I could edit out to include in my project. I confess that I did not figure that part out yet, the copy/edit, but I watched a good portion of the DVD and I value the experience greatly.

I got a chance to watch myself from outside of myself. I saw how I generally speak with students, how I take their questions and explain what I believe I know about language, communication, poetry, and humanity. I saw my humor and my expression. I pretended I was a student sitting in the classroom experiencing this for the first time and I discovered that I believe myself to be good at what I do. This was so liberating. I am so invested in my career as a teaching professional and as a creative artist. To see myself in action gives me the impetus to start my planning and research for the school year ahead. Like it or not, it is August and time is a fleet adversary. I will be in schools soon and there is much to do to be ready for all those questions, all those discussions. I will enter the academic year with a touch more confidence in myself because one teacher valued me enough to not miss what I did with her kids and to share the evidence with me. Thanks to Jan Bubb! You rock!