Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect? This is a common occurrence where the most confident people are not the experts, but the ones with only a slight understanding about a given topic. Psychologists believe this happens because these overly-confident novices do not realize the depth of the subject they, in actuality, know very little about. True experts know they always have more to learn. I think the Dunning-Kruger Effect essentially summarizes a fair part of my 20’s! Perhaps it is because I am older and (hopefully) wiser, or because I didn’t start college until I was 33, but I feel there is always more to learn about the world and the people in it.
I am entering into the education workforce from a lengthy background as a performing artist. In the past, I have made my living from playing violin, as a dancer, actor, director, and choreographer. When my life shifted to no longer revolve around show business, I experienced a crisis of self-identification. Who am I if my occupation on my taxes is no longer “artist”? It became critical to reconsider my understanding of creativity. Creativity isn’t limited to fine arts or performing arts. Creativity can be an essay on Beowulf, or approaching a math problem in a new way, or finding a more efficient way to load the dishwasher. In my new career as a student and soon-to-be educator, I see the planning, execution, and problem solving that occurs in a classroom as an extreme exercise in creativity and flexibility.
Unless something remarkably surprising happens, in a year’s time, I will be preparing to begin my first year as an English Language Arts teacher. I’m looking forward to helping my future students improve their skills in communication, particularly through the written word. Writing is a wonderful* way to express one’s ideas because of the opportunity one has to carefully consider their words and to revise. In speech, once the words are out, there is no retrieving them! I half-joke that I am much smarter on paper than I appear in person, but I think that might be accurate for many people. I’m looking forward to seeing my future students grow in their abilities to express their inner worlds, especially in writing.
*Yes, I used the word “wonderful.” It may seem hyperbolic, but have you considered the enormity of what writing is? Arrangements of dashes, swoops, and dots on a page or a screen share the electric impulses that are shooting about in my brain with anyone who views and interprets them, and this can and likely will outlast my life!