Teaching: Improv, Project Management & Storytelling

I have 5 years of teaching experience in classrooms that range from mountain tops to Stanford studios, and students that vary from at-risk non-English speaking 5th graders to gifted elite graduate students. To be a good teacher, you need many, many diverse skills, a lot of self confidence, a good sense of humor and an extra helping of patience.

When you step into the classroom, you need to be incredibly well prepared by curating and creating content and designing its delivery for an audience of mixed abilities. Your audience will have short and often reluctant attention spans. Your daily content needs to build on itself to adhere to long term objectives and hang together coherently.

To do this well, you need to be a master storyteller, able to infuse narrative into topics by distilling their essence and building up layers of meaning and detail so your audience can grasp not only the moment, but the greater arc. You have to synthesize decades if not centuries of research, thought and discourse into its most critical elements. You must stretch your creativity to the limit to devise ways to allow it to seep into the cracks crannies of over-full minds and be recoverable in recognizable parts months, and ideally years, later. 

And of course, you're doing this all with people, so each carefully laid lesson plan is likely to go awry within it's first few breaths as the last and most critical skill of a good teacher comes into play - understanding and managing human behavior. Reading a room and being able to improv from plans to offer the most value to your audience in that moment, respond to emotional needs or conflicts, can turn frustration into success - and allow learning and growth to happen no matter what obstacles arise.

Teaching takes finesse of humanity, deep grasp of scholarship, and sense of the long-term and overall system for success. The skills necessary to succeed translate into almost any workplace, relationship or life encounter and only get better with practice.