I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

self-perception

Tonight at my dance class, the dance teacher of the other (harder) tap class was absent, so they combined our two classes. Then, one of the students in the other class led us through the class.

It was really, really hard. Whoa. After the first ten minutes or so, I found myself sort of overwhelmed with these things we were doing that I just Could. Not. Do. Well. Also, I was at the end of the line as we practiced across the floor, so everyone could see me having trouble with the steps (naturally I assumed that everyone was watching me screw up. Of course they weren't, but it's easy to feel like everyone's eyes are on you...).

I turned to my friend (I'll call her Angela for now, because she hasn't yet picked a name to be called on my journal, and Angela Lansbury is our current *joke* name for her) Angela and said, "You know, it's sort of good to have this class right now before school starts to give me perspective. I'm about to start acting out."

I really meant it. I've found that when I try new things as an adult, I don't usually have a high tolerance for failure. Not that tonight was a failure, per se, just that it was a lot harder than what I'm used to and I could feel little niggling threads of: "this is too hard" "I'm not doing this" "this is stupid" weaving around inside me.

How appropriate to experience this just before the kids come back, to help me remember what it feels like to perceive myself as *dumb* at something and not want attention called to my shortcomings. I imagine I'm not the only one.

2 comments:

Ms. Swamp said...

Oh yes!

I have had the exact same experience, especially when in technical rock-climbing classes where I am being presented with a LOT of new material about knots, pulleys, ropes, etc. My brain can only take so much, and then I start to forget what I've learned, and I get tired and overwhelmed and I feel dumb compared to the other people. And then I drop out, get silly, or want to go home. It is so interesting to experience it, because really, how often do we have that experience, as teachers, of being the novices?

Luckily I am old enough to recognize what's going on and say "Ok, I'm done now, I need a break, my brain is tired," and go easy on myself. Not necessarily true for our students!

kirsten said...

ms. swamp~

Your point about the werewithal we have as adults is well taken. I was thinking about that on my way home -- that I was aware enough to make that joke and to think about it myself.

I think it's even a story I want to share with my students this year -- that everyone has times when they feel like something is too hard.