The Dance General – A Story of Change

Here’s a story about “change” on many different levels.

Most of my students take my Art of Storytelling class because it is required, and they believe it will be the easiest of the required electives they have from which to choose. They usually come into class “suspicious” of the teacher. Who are they? What do they know? And unconsciously, “will I be able to relate to this teacher?”

In the first class of the semester, I begin by going around the room and asking each student to tell us “why” they are taking this class, aside from the fact that it is “required”. Most of them end up saying “because it is required”, and then I have to pull more out of them.

Then, I tell them about myself…
Here, I could list all of the things I have done, all of my accomplishments, degrees and accolades. I could also tell them, “I am the kind of person who…” and list all of my qualities.

Since I teach storytelling, I try to “teach” the topic by actually telling stories. (The video is a five-minute video recorded live at the Arizona Republic Live Storytelling – 9/15/2011)

Afterwards, I ask them what they know about me now, and do they think they will remember these things? My story “shows” them who I was, how and why I changed, and who I am today. It’s a more compelling way for me to introduce myself to them… as a teacher AND a person. And self-deprecating, humorous stories most always show people that you are “human” and have the ability to laugh at yourself.

This usually changes the way they think about the teacher who is leading the class…and the class itself.

 

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