Coming Out of My Shell
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Community-Word Project's Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP) provides exactly the type of training that I was looking for! I wasn’t sure I was going to find this style of training in a traditional master’s program. TATIP’s training involves participation based activities utilizing art forms such as writing, poetry, dance, visual arts, etc. We learned how to develop creative lesson plans. Two trainees of different art forms were paired up to create a lesson plan. We had to present a summary of our lesson plan to our fellow trainees. One of my favorite moments was when my partner and I presented an intro activity from our plan to the group. I was very comfortable facilitating and everyone participated. I enjoyed watching my fellow trainees present their plans as well. Each lesson was unique and creative.
It was so refreshing to be surrounded by my fellow trainees, who are all talented artists that are determined, motivated and a pleasure to be around. The staff provides a comfortable learning experience and is very helpful. One thing that I wanted to learn more about was classroom management. I was surprised to learn all of the innovative techniques that can assist you in managing a class.
We had a very special training session at the Langston Hughes house in Harlem. I am a poet myself, so to actually be in a famous poet’s house was a special moment. I even took a picture of his typewriter!
TATIP took us through several activities while at Hughes’s house. However, towards the end activity, three trainees volunteered to present several poses based on a word from a line of poetry we had created. I volunteered. I am very proud of that moment. Even though I was a bit nervous, I knew that the staff and my fellow trainees were all there to provide support and encouragement. That gave me the confidence to present and I did a great job!
There were also various quotes about social justice posted on the walls of the house. We each read through the quotes and discussed their meanings with one another. I love analyzing quotes and listening to the staff and my fellow trainees explain their interpretations on the quotes. I was glad to know that we can use this as an activity in the classroom. Another reason I found that TATIP is the program for me is because, I can bring activities that I personally enjoy into the classroom. These type of activities provide a learning experience for the students, and a fun teaching experience for me!
During the training, I felt as though I belonged. I came out of my shell with flying colors: participating in-group exercises, presenting some of my poetry and utilizing the physical space around me through intro activities. I light up whenever I talk about TATIP because I know that this is the path for me! I know that through this program, I will be well prepared to provide my future students with a wonderful class experience.
-Cheree Alexander, Writer, TATIP trainee