Performance is simple in understanding and horribly difficult in practice. Performance is the ability to genuinely behave, focus, and follow through on an action while being watched. Far easier said than done. It is so horribly difficult to genuinely follow through on any task while someone watches you. Yet, the best of us are able to do this time and time again. How? The answer is an annoyingly simple concept. Practice. We often dub our great performers as talented, as people who just have a special somethings. This is a terrible lie. It is practice and the amount time one practices a craft that makes the difference. The talented do not discover their talent, they quite simply become talented. Over time, as they continue to practice they begin to execute in a way that takes notice. The practitioner does not discover their talent they discover the pay off of practice. What the practitioner may also be discovering is the enjoyment of the practice as well. When you enjoy something, you double your efforts in it's practice. If you don't enjoy the practice it is often painful. That said, anything alien can be annoying and frustrating when you first begin. I've been performing for quite some time. There are days when I come home after a rehearsal and over dramatically question every life choice I have made. Then I calm myself down and realize that this is part of practice. We must be willing to be uncomfortable to grow into a new comfort, especially when others are counting on us.
If you are a teacher it is my belief you must do your best to discover a joy for performing. There are others counting on you. You are, after all, being looked to by an audience of students for information and inspiration. You might as well entertain them, and if your well practiced, inspire them with it. The performance aspect of teaching is hardly ever discovered or practiced in teacher training. Teachers throw their caps in the air and graduate from their various programs and are under prepared for the live performance and interaction with students. If they are lucky, they are thrown into a semester of student teaching. Anyone having taught for more than one semester must admit, one semester is not enough. Our young teachers need more practice on their feet, but alas, not enough real time experience is always available in a Liberal Arts schedule. There needs to be a stronger understanding of what it means to be actively teaching to a live group of people. We have a load of students who could be and are often underserved by a teacher “figuring out” how to engage the class in real time. Though there is no practice like reality, there are other methods – more active methods – of training that can better prepare a teacher for the performance. A teacher must practice being a person with people, and they need to understand why that is important. Theater is a most powerful art form that has dedicated itself to being a live space where people gather to watch other people perform. The theater has dedicated itself to helping audiences understand things more clearly, and intricately. The theater has challenged ideas, as well as created and perpetuated them. By and far, theater has dedicated itself to finding interesting ways to entertain and inform live everyday people. Training a teacher in theater techniques will more than prepare a teacher how to create, manage, and perform in a dynamic live space. This particular avenue within the wonderfully vast spectrum of the arts has created activities that can help a teacher learn to be more comfortable being seen and better connect with the students in a live space. It is imperative that the practice performance.