Scintilla Day 5

What talent do you have that your usual blog readers don’t know about? Talk about a time when you showed it to its best advantage.

In many cases, I have to take someone else’s word for it that I have a talent. Some of that is not giving myself enough credit, I’m sure. Yet there are some talents one cannot be sure they posses without feedback. Even then, doubts can remain.

In this case, I’m told I have a talent for teaching or instruction.

I’ve not been trained as a teacher. Certain people in my life have suggested I become a teacher, but I have no interest in making that a career. I lack the personality to make a living as an educator. However, it has been relayed to me that I posses two qualities which make my teaching effective.

The first quality is the ability to break down complex topics into more generally understood smaller pieces. I do this by using simile and imagery. Part of that may be the writer in me, but I often find myself comparing something complicated to something simple.

I tell Mom that something a computer is doing is sort of like filling a pool with water and things like that. Mom, (and others) indicate to me that such language is usually helpful in getting them to understand. Get someone to understand four related things that way and before you know it, they’re gaining an understanding for one large thing.

The second quality, (and I need to rely on the word of others for this one even more than the first quality) is that I present what I am imparting in a manner that makes people want to listen.

An aspect of that quality, if true, may be my usual comfort with public speaking. I often talk to a group as I would to an individual. Sometimes in formal and sometimes in informal contexts, but in either case, I try to impart my knowledge in a personal way.

From time to time I conduct workshops at my local community theatre. Last year my topic for a group of (mostly) teenage actors and actresses was how to correct mistakes on stage. I wrote an outline, filled it with examples from my own life, and, as requested by the owner of the program, created an exercise for the students to participate in, and followed my plan, keeping it all within the allotted time.

When it came time for the exercise, the students requested more stories instead. They wanted to continue the conversation we had been having. I didn’t think it was a big deal, so I agreed. Later, the manager of the program told me that that had never happened with one of her groups. Normally they would be so restless by the end of a workshop, they’d jump at the chance to start the exercise when the time came.

Not in my case.

Again, I don’t know if their increased attention and their lack of interest in ending the lecture is a result of my teaching talents, or simply the chance chemistry of that particular group of people. (Though the attention I get from most groups seems comparable ) I only know that in small local circles only, I have a reputation for being an effective, enjoyable instructor. I was even told that during a production not long after this workshop, actors were reminding one another of what I had taught them.

How have I used this to my advantage? I repeat the final sentence of the previous paragraph: actors were reminding one another of what I had taught them.

My advantage is their advantage. I can’t say I’ve used my hidden supposed talent of teaching to benefit and advance my own cause, but I feel advanced as a person and member of society when such impression are made on others. This is especially true when it comes to the theatre.

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