Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Teach<-->Learn

I "taught" my first class this last week. I have given guest talks before (starting in college, when I would visit local high schools and report on the middle ages, because I had just travelled in Europe for three months and was really into a group called the SCA - Society for Creative Anachronism - which dresses folk up in "garb" of the middle (european) ages and parades peops around in weird personality configurations while people battle it out in "period" form) but never "taught". I had wanted to do a contemplative writing class since I started studying writing that way with my mentor, Paula Novotnak, over three years ago. But finally, it is together.

I was shocked at how natural it was. How, unlike my retail job, I didn't have a headache, or have to search myself to be straightforward with folk. It isn't always like that at the bookstore, but it sure can be. Three hours is no test - I will be "teaching" every Thursday this month as a pilot, then see if I can develop a regular course. But I sure did like it. Everyone had fun. People wrote amazingly astute things.

I introduced myself. Everyone else introduced themselves. I introduced the practice and the idea behind the class. Then, we meditated in silence for 10 minutes, and I guided them through a body relaxation meditation for five minutes. At the end of the five, I "gave them an exercise". I asked them to share their very first memory. I asked for a lot of details. People wrote furiously, and quite a few shared. I even wrote something pretty amazing.

It is very hot here, for here. Even now, after the sun has set, humidity skims my cheeks and shins. And I have yet to do what I sat down to do here over two hours ago: work on my own poetry. So I will go do that now. But more soon. From a new "teacher"...

1 comment:

  1. When I used to seek a level of comfort with a new friend - I would think, if I can sit silent with him/her for an hour. Without needing to say anything.

    Facilitating/teaching is a greate experience, but the course I took last term at the school of architechture here got me thinking. My students were all pretty dejected when they learnt that I was younger than them, they didn't know if they should listen to me anymore...

    Sharing the first memory. My first memory is - standing at the door when I was 2 1/2 and waving bye to my brother, when he went to school.

    Straightforward is a beautiful word. Standing infront of a mirror and watching oneself untwist like a spring snapping back... Its so difficult to be straightforward... or find situations in which one can be - usually its all theatre.

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