Teaching as Performance

I understand that some people with disagree with this, but I feel pretty strongly that teaching is clearly an act of performance. We assume a persona that is not our own, and use this constructed personality as a tool to connect with students. It’s a matter of constructing (or, if you’d rather think of it as assembling, I’d be ok with that too) a series of traits that best allow you the ability to manage and captivate the audience in front of you.

It is artificial. It is not you.

Or, rather, it shouldn’t be. Our own personas are too rational. They are usually not near enough the fringes to allow the sort of radical shifts in perception that good teaching requires. As a well-adjusted adult, trained to avoid conflict and meet people on common ground, we are naturally exactly the least useful manifestation of a teacher. By pulling on the robe of disguise of teacher, we have the freedom to change into whatever the situation requires.

By ex-students, graduated and adult (and finally allowed to stop calling me “Mr. Calvin” and begin calling me Tim) a usually taken back by how normal I am in most of my thought process. How rational, how even keeled, how human I actually am. It’s jarring to them.

Mr. Calvin is a tool I have created to further allow me the flexibility required to adapt to any situation I encounter in the classroom.

It isn’t me.