18.8.2019, Ljubljana
Being teachers

Syros-Akropoditi_July2019_1 copy_crop

At the Contactfestival Freiburg (this year, 8-14. of August) and especially at the teacher’s meeting which precedes it (this year, 3-8. of August), through the years I’ve repeatedly heard some of us referring to our group as “teachers”. “We are teachers, we should know about this kinds of things,” and similar. Every time, it creates a little doubt, and a question inside me: what does this word mean for the speaker?

I can’t know that, but this is the way I see it:
I may be a teacher now, and a student tomorrow. Do I still feel as a teacher when I am being a student? Hardly. That’s when I’m in a different mind process, than someone guiding a class, transmitting a knowledge. However, a learning and a teaching might still be taking place; and I might be doing both.

One of my most revered teachers, Lisa Nelson, says that us – her students, are her best teachers. There is always a learning taking place, and one is always the student. Even when teaching a class. The same goes for the teaching – one is always teaching someone something.

The teacher then, I observe, is a transitory role; not a status that is maintained throughout a festival, throughout a life. The problem arises when we (I) start addressing ourselves (myself) as “teacher(s)” when outside of the teaching situation. Using this word as a title, meaning knowing more then the non-teachers, certainly more then the students / the people I am teaching.

That short-sighted perspective should be enough to put anyone in their place – back to the beginning. Learning is something that happens when the conditions are right; it happens to a degree we (the participants of a lesson, be it students or teachers) can take-in at the moment, in the circumstances provided. What isn’t learnt remains somewhere in us, stored, kept on ice, for it to blossom when the weather gets warmer. Like a seed. Or so I have experienced it.

A teacher is someone that is in a role to both create conditions and provide the seeds which will sprout. The student, however, still has to do the learning themselves. Making the connections between what they are getting to their previous experience, and their own Now.

A teacher is a role we take on, being in service of a learning process. It’s not a permanent status and when we use it as a title it carries the danger of loosing perspective. However – temporarily taking on the role of a teacher, I do do the work of preparation, and take onto myself the responsibility of guiding a certain learning-teaching processes, but which flow into both directions.

For me, teaching is a performance. I know, because I have felt myself teaching things I didn’t know I know, in ways I didn’t know how. Which is the same line of discovery that regularly happens on stage. The audience, and the students, taught me that.

So when I hear “we are teachers, we should know this”… I am relieved inside, thinking “It’s ok. We are clearly but students, and there is so much we still have to learn.”

10.4.2019, Athens
One. And one. Again

One. And one. Again - Kokki Website copy_CROP

On 12.4.2019, a 2nd improvised performance with George Kokkinaris, at Synergatiko studio in Athens.
More here