“…inquiry and open-mindedness are central to expertise…” – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design
As I stood in front of a group of students between the ages of nine and twelve, I hate to admit that I demonstrated only half of the what the above quote references as “…central to expertise…”.
I failed miserably to remain open-minded as students shouted in their high-pitched voices about what their old teacher did, about how they old teacher liked to build sets, about everything I had specifically said I did not want them to focus on in that moment.
I stopped listening. I shut down. I raised my voice (in a still professional manner, but my frustration was real). And I shut them down. Returned them to their task and felt horrible in silence as they worked.
It is hard being the new teacher, the new theatre teacher, amongst a program that’s filled with students who loved the ways of their former teacher. Students who have a hard time accepting the fact that in some areas I know less, in some areas I function differently, in some areas I learned differently….
Every time I bring something new to the table. I am questioned. I am reminded that “Ms. so and so did it like this….” “We Ms. so and so didn’t do that…” and so on an so forth.
Every time….I crack a little. I crumble a little. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should stand tall. I should demonstrate what it is to listen, to adapt, to learn, to be open-minded.
But…honestly….this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do. And I’m still learning what it means to be an “expert”. a “teacher”. their “new drama teacher”.