Hooray for Improvisation! | Hooray For Monday

July 1, 2024

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President

Listen to this week’s Hooray For Monday podcast to hear the 2024-2025 Teaching with Improvisation Fellows share their reflections on the summer Institute and the power of improv in education.

Last week, Inspired Teaching’s 2024-2025 Teaching with Improvisation Fellowship began. More than 30 educators, of all grades and subjects, from schools across DC (as well as a couple from Maryland and one from Ukraine!) joined the Inspired Teaching staff for three days full of hands-on, whole-body learning, community-building, and fun. The Teaching with Improvisation Fellowship is a yearlong program, so you can expect to hear about our Fellows often; we will be connecting with them, their classrooms, and their colleagues regularly as the school year progresses.

Today I’m sharing a specific moment that highlights the kinds of changes in mindset and practice that are core to the Inspired Teaching Approach.

The 2024-2025 Teaching with Improvisation Fellowship cohort and members of the Inspired Teaching staff at the Institute.

On the second day of the Institute, after Fellows were invited to examine their comfort zones and identify areas of discomfort and uncertainty, we asked them to consider situations when the opposite of a belief they hold may also be true. This activity encourages participants to reflect on alternate contexts and perspectives that challenge their preconceptions about themselves or the world. One particular response struck me for its approach to the meaning of the word comfort.

“Sneakers are comfortable.”

“Sneakers are not comfortable.”

In the first statement, the teacher explained that wearing sneakers is physically comfortable (especially when being active at the Inspired Teaching Institute!). In the second, she noted that wearing sneakers with a dress was uncomfortable because she felt they were an inappropriate shoe choice with a more formal outfit. On its surface, this comparison seems straightforward, but it is also remarkable for its unexpected shift in perspective – physical comfort vs. emotional comfort.

On the final day, Teaching Fellows shared one belief that is growing stronger and one that is beginning to change. Their reflections were deeply moving. One that stuck with me is this: “Yes! Teaching with improvisation is hard work. And, it’s worth it.”

Fellows “engaging their skeptics,” an activity that strengthens their understanding of the benefits and value of improvisation in the classroom.

Every day, we see news headlines that tell us teachers are burnt out, unenthusiastic about their practice, unengaged. And while it is true that there are many serious problems facing the teaching profession, it is also true that teachers are committed to, delighted in, and passionate about their work.

When we shift our perspective, meaningful change becomes possible. Listen to this week’s podcast for an inspiring collection of new perspectives in teachers’ own voices.

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

Listen to This Week’s Episode of Hooray For Monday

[showmodule id="1045"] [showmodule id="140"] [showmodule id="141"]