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Monday, November 13, 2006

Why Teacherly?

I'm wondering why the culture thinks of me as teacherly; or why I have learned to somehow use the language in that way to give people the idea I'm trying to teach when I'm talking. I mean, I do have some Alexander Technique students sometimes - but that's more a process of coaching self-observation rather than a process of disseminating information as most teachers do.

It is in the assumptions where all the meat of meaning is for me. So going over what the assumptions are can make me sound as if I'm insulting someone's ability to see the obvious...but I'm sort of making a list to see if we can spot an assumption that we could change. Other people don't get my intent, so I've learned to spell it out before I do it. Then the others can play too. Othewise if people do not know what is going on, they tend to assign some negative motive to what I'm doing - which is how I regard the "teacherly-ness." It's not that it's negative, but it's a role to describe some sort of authority thing that is going on.

I know I have a tendency to say things to see how words sound after they come out of my mouth. I try out making a statement about something to see how the rest of me reacts. This is part of what makes me sometimes sound so full of it that my eyes are brown, because I'll make a statement as if I know what I'm talking about when I know absolutely nothing. I'll narrate myself while I'm in the act. Sometimes that's quite funny, in a self-deprecating way.

I seem to want to offer the benefit of my observations - but really, it's mostly that I want to tell what I have observed so far because I want to "trade notes" on certain topics with others. I have these many topics of ongoing investigation that are extremely open-ended; so when someone mentions something about them, my ears prick up. I guess trotting out what I know about something so far isn't the way to evoke the responses I want; but by doing that, I have so often catapulted the conversation onto deeper levels. So I keep doing it - at the risk of sounding as if I'm an authority - and I try to do damage control when I see what I don't want happening.

I hate being tagged as an authority when all I'm doing is putting whatever I have observed so far into words. On the other hand, I hate not being in a position where what I have to offer is not valued. I spend much of my time establishing rapport - and to be in rapport means you don't get respect in this culture, which is a shame. It seems you can only have respect or you can have intimate connection. "Familiarity Breeds Contempt" it seems, and that is a shame.

I really love and respect those people who I think of as unappreciated Pearls. I admire people who reject all presentation skills and go toward content. But in this day and age, if you want to be in the position of offering what you know, you almost have to work on how you're presenting it, otherwise it goes completely unnoticed. Which makes me wonder - is anyone reading this blog?

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