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!


  1. Will you be coaching other teachers?

    I would like to get some video recordings of me teaching...

  2. Yep, I'm the math coach next year for my department. New role! Just seeing my own face on video did a good reality check, so it's not necessarily necessary to have a videographer...just a tripod :)