Teacher, trainer and mentor have been reoccurring roles in my life. With each opportunity to share knowledge or skill I have gained greatly in return. Here are some account of my experiences.
Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, Berkeley
In June 2014 I taught a lighting design seminar for the
School theatre middle school group, the challenge was adapting this complicated
subject into two hour-long classes in a way that engaged the students and gave
them tools to begin understanding lighting. Working with a younger crowed I
knew I should keep the class activity based, and focused on the artistic rather
than technical aspects. The first day we talked a little about lighting the
students observe day to day and the controllable qualities of light: colour,
movement, intensity, angle and shape. Next we listened to three different
pieces of music and colored with markers and pencils; some created shapes and
squiggles, others drew scenes or people. After each piece of music we discussed
our drawings, what we felt, heard, saw, and what we were liked about each
other’s work. The depth and creativity demonstrated blew me away; it was a
completely inspiring experience. On Day two we broke into design groups,
students choosing to work on one of the three songs from the previous session. Each
group took a turn with the lighting console, creating and rehearsing a design,
which they then performed for the class. After each performance we had a
discussion about what the audience saw and what the design team wanted to
communicate. At the very end we did a wrap up and the students told me that
they had greater appreciation for lighting, it was “very important”, adding
emotion, and intensity to the songs creating a visceral reaction. The profound part for me was
that after two hours my students were communicating ideas that took me years of
study to verbalize. I cherish my time with these students and consider it one
of my greatest successes as a teacher.
National Holistic Institute, Emeryville
I signed up to tutor at NHI because I thought it would be an easy way to study while getting paid and what it turned into was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. First I started proctoring the drop in study labs, they were usually just me and another student or two. I answered a question now and then but over all I read or studied anatomy. After a few months I was paired with a student for some one on one tutoring. I met with the student and her advisor and together we made a plan. The student had some specific learning needs and disabilities to accommodate. It was my task to break down or reorder the subject matter so that they were able to successfully process the information and questions. Our sessions involved a lot of sensory integration, using assigned colours, moving throughout the room as each session progressed, and integrating physical movement to capture ideas. After six months working together the student, now my friend, aced their test and graduated with honors. Leaning, teaching, and communication some so easily to me, and this experience reminded me of what it was like to fight to develop new skills. A good mentor can make a big difference in the life of their student.
Foothill College, Los Altos Hills
The Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College was my proving ground in a lot of ways. When I started working at the college I got my first professional theatre and events gigs. Every day it was a new challenge. Clients would have requests to accommodate anything from a microphone set up, a full orchestra, all day talent shows, cultural festivals, 50+ person dance shows, and one time lightening. I couldn't actually have electricity arc from the ceiling of the theater to the ground, we had to use a lighting effect instead but aside from that we made it all work. Our crew for these events were mostly made up of students from the college, since I didn't control scheduling I never knew who wold show up for any given day. This meant that on top of adapting on the fly to changing client needs we had to do a lot of on the job training. It was really a really valuable experience and helped me to hone my resource management and training skills. Because it was a college I usually ended up learning from the team as well. Every person has unique skills and perspective, if we can figure the most effective way to utilize their skills then the job gets done well, efficiently and joyfully.
Woodstocks Pizza, San Luis Obispo
My first formal job as a trainer started in this awesome Pizza shop. After working through pizza maker, cook, and cashier I started training new hires on closing procedure and shortly after received the Employee of the Year award. This bustling college town was a great starting place to learn about how to lead a team in a way that gets the work done and maintains friendships so that the parties are still a blast.