My role as an educator
As a teacher, I want to be a part of a young artist's fruit salad. I want to be one element of many that they carry with them on their journeys as a dancer, a choreographic artist, an educator, and as a human in the world. In order to become rooted alongside my students, I must allow myself to be open and honest with them, to admit to my mistakes, to not act as if I know everything, and to understand when they have to find the answers within themselves. When I understand myself, I am better able to teach my students, to level the playing field of a natural power relationship, to encourage a journey full of risk, and to build connections and community.
The importance of community in the classroom
In establishing community, the space held becomes more sacred. There are many teaching pathways that occur within a classroom: self to self, self to others, from teacher to student, and students to teacher. Every class offers the opportunity to broaden perspectives and understanding. By placing myself into the role of a student of my own practices, I am able to give more space to my students and come into better relationship and community. I want to lead by example in honoring who I am, both in the past and in the present moment. By embracing who I am, it is then possible to embrace others, our similarities, and our differences. Opening up a sacred space for individuality allows for the students to give more freely and become less self-critical.
My teaching style
My teaching style has developed from the experiences I have had as a student. I draw from my mentors, the people who have inspired me, and the people to who I responded the most strongly. Embracing my history and sharing it with my students strengthens my abilities and connectivity as a teacher. However, I must remain aware that the most successful ways I learn may not be the same for my students. I want to be adaptable with my students and the demands of the institution, but I want to find equilibrium between what is demanded of me and how I can remain true to my teaching beliefs and myself. I seek to always try to find balance, even when balance may not be possible to find.
The importance of feedback
When giving my students feedback, or in any conversational setting, I want to talk with them. I want to share what I am witnessing, but also value their approaches, their temperaments, and their opinions. I do not want to dictate as we are always learning new ways in which to see the world. I want to affirm, not devalue. I want to challenge, not diminish. I want to discuss, not debate. I want to offer, not overbear.
The student-teacher relationship
I will strive to find the line between teacher-mentor and good friend. It is important to me to have my students know me as more than just a leader in the classroom, but also as a person in the world whose passions lie in more than one place. My teaching goes beyond the learning of the classroom; how can I inspire change that goes deeper than a surface level. I must remind them that we are always arriving; the journey will never be finished. I am able to come into solidarity with my students by understanding more than just the dancing body. The link within the mind, body, and spirit is a vital aspect to becoming a fully embodied and aware citizen of the world.