It is quite fascinating what happens when we stop listening to our bodies. They know so much more than we give them credit.
Last week, I substitute taught ballet for kindergarteners and there is one young black girl that with another teacher may have been called the spawn of Satan. She immediately runs around the classroom getting all the other girls to act as rambunctious as she does. She then sits in my chair and calls herself the teacher. She definitely possesses strong leadership abilities, the task is getting her to utilize them to create a positive influence.
I said to her, since you want to be the teacher, then teach. There were some hula hoops in the corner and I grabbed a bunch and placed them in a row except for one I placed in front and center. Last week I had the girls line up in a line and taught them positions 1through 3. By 3rd, I could tell they were getting board and antsy. This week I had them stand in the hula hoops and said they had to stay within the circle and the young girl who said she wanted to teach, I gave her the center hoop and allowed her to teach what we had learned last week. She lit up and her leadership nature was utilized as a positive influence. I then had each of the girls teach something that they wanted and I was surprised by how much ballet they had already known when given the chance and asked.
I can identify with this young girl because from a young age, I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it and the world does a good job of shutting this out of you. How often do we do that to children? I could have just crushed the little girls fire by forcing her into the traditional ballet structure but instead, I listened to what she was asking for and gave her an opportunity to express it.
Now, I won’t pretend it was just that simple. I did have to reassert dominance as the teacher at some point but that is more information for the next time.
Similarly, I had an experience on set where a lead actor suggested an idea to the other lead actors and I think he was giving me a hint about how I should play my character without speaking to me directly. It took me a few takes to realize what was going on but I did get it. In the next scene, I had an opportunity to teach some of the background actors while acting on set as well.
I have a private student that I teach as well and this week we’ve worked more consistently than ever but the thing that is lacking for me is not having a teacher. Tho we can learn from teaching, I’m not getting information from a more experienced perspective.