Teaching and Acting

Teaching is a performance art.  I think back to the days I used to do theater and I think I still have the same sorts of anxieties I did when I acted.  It’s not just being in front of an audience that makes them similar.  I think as an actor you want to convey something to your audience.  That something could be a fundamental truth or maybe something as “simple” as the hidden desires of the part you play.  That is definitely teaching in a nutshell.  You go into character, trying to convey information to your audience.  It could be as simple as the words on your PowerPoint slides, or it could be a “deeper” meaning of the universe that surrounds your students.  We both try to memorize our lines, but are ready to improvise when that fails.  Like acting, those moments of improvisation can be more memorable than the real script.  When we are fresh and excited about the part we play the audience becomes part of the performance and something magical can happen.  Conversely when the audience is passive and gives back nothing the performer or teacher can feel drained as they pour their energy out on the stage/podium.  I am already part of the teachers union, but does this make me qualified for the actors’ guildas well?

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