Monday, June 26, 2006


I'm awfully tired, pleasantly exhausted actually, after experiencing my very first teaching encounter, yesterday. The whole subjective resistance/inertia I've always felt about assuming the role of "teacher", of all the bits and pieces of personal history, self-esteem/vulnerability issues, simple laziness, conflicting feelings about the profession itself and my personal role in it, deep philosophical questions regarding the point of being here in human form at all, had all ended up jumbled together in a vague inner shadow aspect that I came to recognize and term "the daunt factor." Once I had a name for it, the clear task I faced was to overcome it and free my inner "teacher." Funny how we set ourselves up for deepening into life...

I took a first baby step, by selecting some interested and friendly people to teach, offering to teach them for free the first time, just so that I could practice getting past just the first inner obstacle (the first of many, all seeming insurmountable); that of actually organizing my own thoughts/gleanings on treatment and speaking them in real time while on my feet with people looking at me. Note that these tasks/challenges are motor-cognitive in nature.

It's the first time I had ever put myself in the category of "instructor", standing up in the front with a bunch of markers in my hand, making drawings and explaining things in real time to others who occupied (my previous and much preferred) category of "student." I feel like I've just experienced a trip, not just into, but clear to the other side of The Void. I feel discombobulated inwardly; in retrospect my mirror neurons took quite a beating when I reversed the familiar role play, but otherwise I seem to be fine. I didn't uncover any wellspring of inexhaustible energy, any sudden appetite for external glory and fame, any passion for being in the spotlight, or even any previously undiscovered proclivity or ease with being extroverted. Alas. Attributes such as these may well have more easily flattened both inward and outward obstacles.

I have still such a long way to go. None of this comes easy or naturally to an introvert like me, content for so long to sit, learn from others, ruminate, think and treat. I'm taking the pleasant exhaustion as an inward clue that the experience was growthful in some important way, to me as a person if nothing else; exactly how, I've yet to understand, conceptualize, or be able to explain to myself.

The students were Eric and Cory, thoroughly attentive, never seeming bored and never fidgeting much to my everlasting gratitude. We went straight from 8 AM to 7 PM with just one short break for lunch. I showed them all my best basic moves and they practiced on each other.

These two nice guys were simultaneously supportive, objective, and clear in their feedback about the instruction and material, and Eric even volunteered to be an assistant if I decide to teach again to a large class, so I'm not sure why today I feel like I'm in some sort of subjective dark burlap sack regarding the quality of the job I did or necessity of the role I took a stab at or the value of the material itself in the long run or the overall need of the profession to maintain any connection to its humble hands-on origins. Maybe it will all become clearer to me in days to come. Maybe all 'teachers' feel like this at times. Maybe the only meaning or value of any of this material is what I decide to assign/what the learners of it will assign.


Anonymous said...

What's interesting is I found you would offer that (when I would see you for a session) anyway - explain the formation of the nerves in the embryo, explain some anatomy, etc. Sharing the ways of the body/mind seemed to come quite naturally to you, so it's interesting the teaching experience was so exhausting. Though 8am to 7pm is pretty intense!

Diane Jacobs said...

Well, Ayesha (hello again by the way), yes, I agree the information itself is already there, and I give it out to patients all the time. What was daunting (for me) was to organize it into a class and teach it to peers. It's a completely different social and psychological dynamic.