I am not here to tell you that 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have been great gifts to education if you just look at them right. That kind of toxic positivity drives me bonkers, truth be told. Instead, I want to share some strategies I’ve been using to navigate this wild era based on strategies from my time prior to teaching, back when I performed as an improv artist in Chicago (yes, you read that right).
There are three strategies in particular that have helped me and my students to power through this roller coaster of a year, and I hope they might help you, too. The strategies include:
1. Embrace the plot twist: Ask any improviser for the rules of improv and they’ll inevitably mention “Yes And.” Successful improv artists hop up on stage and dive into whatever reality the audience and their acting partners suggest. For example, I might expect that I’m about to do a scene where I’m waiting at a train station, but my acting partner tells me we’re socks in a washing machine. Instead of arguing with my scene partner that my idea is better, I obey the improv rule. The rule of “Yes And” invites me to accept this new reality and build upon it.
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