Opening Night - Finding My 'Why'
Tonight I went to the opening keynote presentations for this year's Drama Queensland conference. Every single year they continue to inspire me but I will go as far as saying that tonight's was the best one yet. But a blog is coming about the conference tomorrow
The central theme of the opening messages was teaching from a place of love, collaboration and respect for the student's desire to be recognised and improve as artists.
Now before I go on, I need to provide some context for what I am about to say so hear me out. Looking now, at 7:50 pm on a Friday night, in an apartment in Kelvin Grove, while I am eating value pizza (which by the way is waaaay better than ANY Townsville Dominoes) because I am now too broke to eat out, the events of today seem to have a bigger picture attached to it. I believe it's all happened on purpose. I have been praying for a moment like this for a while now and my prayer was answered, but not in the way I was quite hoping. Truthfully I feel like I am hitting a mini cross-road in my teaching career. I guess I have passed the "am I good enough for this gig" and now hitting the "how can I create a lasting impact in the classroom and teach students to impact the world?" I feel I am in this room, almost temporarily broke (don't worry I will be ok Sunday) eating value pizza because I need this time by myself to reflect without distractions.
So let's start with the 'why'. Why did I choose to be a drama teacher? I could have done anything. I could have continued to pour beers and hand out pokie payments. I could have kept making coffees. I could have quit my Music Degree after constantly running off the stage from anxiety and being almost considered 'at risk' by my Lecturer. I could have taken that admin position at the Tully Council at the suggestion of my Career Guidance Offer, I could have kept applying for Music Retail management positions. I could have been one of the 40% who gave up after being destroyed in my teaching job. I could have given up when Education Queensland told me that I wasn't a capable teacher. I could have given up when I got rejected from job after job. I could have said no to the drama teaching gig. I could have walked away during those first couple of years of the job.... flattening under the pressure of re-starting a problem. I could have done a lot of things in the 15 years since I left High School. But something within me choose to stay (dammit... now I am tearing up!). A part of me just chose to just keep showing up.... everyday... no matter how much heat was against me. Success is choosing to show up.... wisdom is learning to get better at showing up.
So here's my why.... Here's why I continue to show up every single day.... no matter how much the heat is hitting me.
I believe in the kids wholeheartedly. I believe in the value they will one day impart on the world and I believe that they teach us as much as we teach them. I believe they are game-changers and I can help them collect the tools to start.
- I love rocking up each day and saying hello to the kids (or coming up with silly greetings/ high fives/ songs) and hearing about something that is impacting their world.
- I love finding fun and creative ways to teach a child..... such as getting them to write metaphors about me in English or creating Agit Prop theatre right in the middle of the classrooms.... or how to bring a character to life through using Fakebook apps and photoshoots..... I could go on.
- I love the privilege of creating a classroom where a student is free to respond and grow without being patronised or bullied.
- I love the first time the child who was sitting in the corner (practically in 'mute' foetal position) get up and perform for the first time.
- I love the diversity of my classrooms and the fact that no two children think alike.
- I love it when a kid who has been struggling FINALLY gets a concept.
- I love the 'laugh code' I have with some of my drama kids after something funny has happened in the classroom. Some of the kids take pride on being an exclusive part of the 'drama class'.
I will leave you with one quote that was said in the opening keynotes which so strongly applies to teaching:
"Education isn't just a transaction, it's a transformation."