I am visiting a studio in Virginia this week as a guest teacher, and it is really a joy to be here. The teachers and students have been so welcoming. I'm staying with a friend from my teacher training, and we've been staying up well past her bedtime looking through our yearbooks and reminiscing. (When will that get old?)
When I did the "traveling teacher" thing in Lexington last month, I felt that it took me a few days to really get my footing on the podium. It was tricky to learn all the different names, manage the different room, figure out the different atmosphere. For just those first couple classes, I felt like I was starting from scratch!
I'm not sure what's different this time - it's probably just practice - but I felt comfortable teaching here from the very first class. Is comfortable the right word? Teaching is never truly easy, just like the practice is never easy - it's a mental tightrope, a challenge every time. But I felt really good - calm, relaxed, breathing normal, everything under my control. I was able to learn almost every single name within the first 20 minutes. I had some rapport - when I cracked little jokes, people actually smiled and laughed. (It definitely helped that my friend was in the class!) I guess I hit the ground running. This never happened before!
I sure hope I'm not jinxing myself for tomorrow's classes...
There's a great expression that I heard somewhere (and I am probably butchering it here) that goes like this: "It is the teacher's job to hold up a higher vision for the students until they are strong enough to hold it for themselves." And I feel that way now, a little bit. Since all the other teachers here are kind enough to hold up this high vision of me - "Here she is, our special guest teacher!" - I feel myself stepping up a little bit more. Stepping forward. Okay, sure. Here I am, and here is what I do. Here is what I have to offer. If you want it, please take it.
The whole point of teaching is that it's a gift, or a prayer, that you give to someone else. There's nothing to actually hold on to. And it seems like ego, to ever think of myself as a "good teacher," but it's not about me. The further I go, the more I want to keep going and learn more. I'm barely even scratching the surface.
When I was practicing advanced series with some of the teachers this weekend, a little piece of a song drifted into my head, sometime from a tape that I listened to when I was a kid. And that's the real purpose of this post, typing away half-formed thoughts on a late Sunday night - I just wanted to send these words out into the ether, for you to read over your coffee in the morning.
Soon in your lifetime, something will happen
All at once for a moment, it will flash into view
And from that moment on,
It's all up to you.