“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” -C.S. Lewis

I can hardly believe that we have finished summer theatre school at LCT. We’ve all been enjoying thinking back over orientation. In a way it feels like yesterday. But we’ve come so far this summer, and I’ve gotten so comfortable with these people and I feel so connected to the programming at LCT that leaving is going to be very difficult. But thinking back to those days of orientation, I’m realizing that no matter how many times you hear something, it’s really best learned through personal experience. The following “top three” lessons are the only way I know how to capture what has shaped up to be the best summer I’ve ever had.

If you’re not having fun, then your kids aren’t having fun
This may seem obvious, but this lesson was particularly valuable for me to grow as a teaching artist. Regardless of what you’re teaching, it’s SO important to find something in the story or script that YOU can get excited about. If the teachers are excited, the kids will be too. Your access point into a story will help them immerse themselves in that world too.

Be the co-teacher you want to work with
This summer I taught with ten different people. I only had a week with each person, so it was vital to figure out how to mesh our two teaching styles. We had to get to know that person as a teaching artist very quickly to make the most of the week. About halfway through the summer, our supervisors gave us this challenge of being the co-teacher we would want to work with. This really clicked for me. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about what my ideal co-teacher would be like. But now I know that I would like to work with someone who takes initiative, someone with the interest of the kids as a top priority, someone who asks questions and finds a way to meld our ideas together, and someone who will be honest and reflective to let me know how they think the week is going. This summer has been great preparation for all the new people I will teach with down the road, and being the co-teacher I would want to work with is a great place to start with anyone.

There is always something to learn. You can’t know it all
I’ve told myself this a lot, mostly in hopes of toning down my perfectionism when it gets out of control. But it’s especially true in teaching. I am a fan of structure, and I really like knowing what I am doing. But once you’ve figured out a new thing, it’s easy to get stuck inside your comfort zone. That’s true for any job. But challenging myself to think differently about the source material, to lead new activities and warm ups every week, and not let myself get stuck in a teaching rut is what made this summer particularly rewarding. When in doubt, challenge YOURSELF.

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