keskiviikko 25. syyskuuta 2013

Day 322: The omniscient leader


A piece of a graffiti mural in Melbourne.

Today I had a really cool session with the children in my theatre course. With “cool” I don't mean that everything went perfectly, but that I learned overflowingly much from it; a shitload of new aspects of where these children stand, what I can teach them and ideas on how to do it emerged. The whole meeting began with things not going as I had planned at all, and showing myself that I can manage an unplanned situation with 15 kids was really, really necessary. I'm starting to grow trust in myself.

Another thing with today's meeting was that I realized that a learning process comes with confusion. Immediately afterwards I was anxious for a while because I was feeling uncertain about the session, questioning myself, fearful that I had “failed”, paranoid even. When I stopped to go through what had actually happened – which I need to do really slowly, because an hour-and-a-half session is like a fireworks of new points, lessons to be learned flying at me like a flurry of bullets – I realized that I was uncertain because compared to our earlier meetings this one wasn't “as good” - it wasn't as clear, as exemplary, as structured – and this made me anxious because I hadn't met my standards. I then realized that compared to the previous sessions I had actually learned much more today. To quote what I wrote after the session:

“But that's the thing with teaching: the group makes the course. I can't teach a group what they resist – I can teach them what they're willing to take in. I cannot know in advance what this course will be. I have to allow myself confusion, lessons like this when things don't go like I planned, because that's when new points are revealed, new conflicts arise – new lessons to be learned expose themselves.”

It's just a matter of me probing around to see what the group would be ready to learn, what kind of a challenge would be right for them. OH MAN, I am so so SO enjoying this whole thing. Kids are awesome company!

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to get frustrated at myself for being confused, not seeing, realizing and understanding that confusion is a part of the process of learning.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to define “confusion” / “not knowing what to do” as “failure” when in a position of “leadership”, believing and perceiving that a “leader” should always know the best solution / the right answer because as a child I didn't know how this world works and trusted authority figures to know what to do, thus perceiving them to be omniscient, all-knowing, and not capable of failure.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to set myself an impossible standard of “never failing” when in a position of “leadership” - never showing my “weaknesses” - not realizing that it is human to make mistakes because none of us can ever learn every single thing there is to know about this life; the human capacity is limited to one body, one brain and one lifetime.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not realize that it is actually good to show children that I, too, make mistakes, don't always know what to do, get confused and make the wrong choices, because this will teach them that authorities are not all-knowing or all-capable but are in fact just PEOPLE one with and equal to the children themselves, and that they are “authorities” simply because they have happened to be born a bit earlier.

I commit myself to continue exploring teaching, leadership and directing with this group of children. (Man, am I glad to have an opportunity like this!)

I commit myself to prepare the sessions a day or two before, keeping in mind the requirements of the space we rehearse in and the rehearsals that we do.

I commit myself to after each session during the same day to go through what happened – with someone if possible, to provide feedback and perspective – and to plan the next session according to what worked out and what didn't.

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