Hit Me! Personal stories with a punch or why the world needs you

By December 9, 2014Learning




I teach two sections of storytelling every semester at Ithaca College. I love teaching this class. The students are bright and interested and so creative. I also admire my students for who they become over the course of the semester. They go from “I would rather throw myself under a bus” scared to “Yeah, bring it on” at the end. In their words …

I was extremely nervous-to the point where I had pseudo-panic attacks… by the final performance I was not nervous or shaking. I learned the true value of storytelling. It’s about expressing yourself and your emotions to engage … and trust…

What my students don’t know about me (until they read this blog) is that I was “throw me under a bus!” scared too when I began teaching storytelling at Ithaca College. I had a personal process to create and perform my own stories but I had never formulated or systematized my thoughts about teaching. I knew I could do it but I didn’t know how. This is my mantra for just about everything in life~ parenting, friendships, and cooking, which I can’t do. Trust me.

In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer states, “We teach who we are.”

I explored my own process of learning in order to teach them how to explore. I expressed my own understanding of storytelling in order to help them connect to the material and finally I had to trust myself and them and the stories they wanted to tell as we all found a way of being authentically ourselves. This video, Diving and Emerging is one of the first personal stories I ever created. It speaks to my understanding of life and teaching. We are a constant state of renewal, conviction and confusion. Teaching is about engaging in something larger than ourselves, exploring something other than ourselves and expressing something of ourself.