Friday, August 26, 2011

Jennifer Abrams on coaching...

In Jennifer Abrams' most recent newsletter, she wrote about a bunch of cool stuff, and I encourage you to read the whole thing here.  In particular, I keep wanting to go back and read this paragraph on dramaturgy and how it connects to coaching.  As I contemplate my new coaching role at school, this gives me language for what I aspire to do, and will help keep my eyes on that vision.

from Jennifer:

Definition of a Dramaturg
This July I spent time at the Kennedy Center participating as a new board member of the National New Play Network as NNPN ran their summer MFA Playwrights’ Workshop. Theater professionals from all over the country came to support six new playwrights as they brought their plays more fully into being.  The playwrights were connected with a director, a dramaturg, other support staff and a cast of actors. After one week of amazing collaboration, we experienced a reading of their work.  Of all of the parts people played during the week, the role that intrigued me most was that of dramaturg. We don't have dramaturgs in the teaching profession or do we?  In a nutshell, a new play dramaturg has three roles. One - to be a champion for the play itself.  Two - to be a brainstorming partner for the playwright.  Three - to be a liaison between the audience and the play.  If done well, the dramaturg is a coach, a muse, a healer, a connector and much more. We who are leaders at any level in our organization or school might consider ourselves as resident dramaturgs - champions of the work we are trying to do, brainstorming partners for our colleagues, and liaisons between our schools and the ‘audiences’ we work with - students, families, communities.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Your appreciation for all things is off the charts...

"Every person whom you come into contact with, every exploration into every place on your planet, every interaction with anyone who comes to you will be one that has the potential of uplifting them because you represent the best of all that exists in all of the universe. And you know it because you feel frisky. You're full of yourself. Your eyes are bright.  Your body feels good. Your body is functioning the way you want it to. Your heart is lifted. Your mind is clear. Your wit is sharp. Your fun is full. Your eagerness is pronounced. Your love is apparent. Your appreciation for all things is off the charts." - Abraham Hicks

off the charts people...let's go...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Videos of Self Teaching

I was just going through a bunch of unlabeled discs, most of them DVDs with films I made back when I was an experimental filmmaker making films.  I was getting into the routine of recognizing the films, labeling them, throwing them away.

Then all of a sudden there's me, 4 years ago, in clothes and hair and glasses I remember but haven't seen since then, welcoming in a classroom of kids that I taught my first year.  I actually experience not believing what I'm seeing...I have no memory of this being recorded, of this particular day, of those conversations, of that way I'm moving or speaking.  I know those faces, relatively sweeter and younger than I would have thought, utterly familiar.  And there I am, so serious, holding my clipboard, hardly looking up, but when I do serious in that too, connecting with such conviction and intensity.

I see simultaneously the significant and undeniable presence I am in that room, just because I am who I am, despite all my obvious mistakes and inattention to the important stuff, I am there and these kids that I remember being so difficult know me and are comfortable there.  I imagine them seeing me being so serious, keeping track of their failures, so clinically observing their shortcomings.  That's what I recognize there.  It takes me back.  I remember the feelings I had about those kids.  I feel grateful I'm not still living that life, not because it was so hard, though I remember it was, but just because I'm grown and full in new ways now, and am glad for those transformations in me.

I wonder if I could have had any objectivity if I had seen this when it was shot.  I would wish for myself to recognize the fundamental worth of that teacher in the room, and be able to also see how easy it could be to shift the dynamic in that room.  Those kids deserved to be seen, watched, loved through simple attention to their thinking and presence in the room.

I'm humbled and honored to have seen this just before school begins again.  May I learn how to attend to what's important, may I find the balance between humility and sincere confidence and rest there.  I think next year I'll use video (sped up?) more in my coaching.  Immediate insight!