Room for Discomfort
I was driving home with a CU colleague after playing a concert, when the conversation touched on the issue of discomfort. Nowadays, whenever someone feels slightly uncomfortable or bored, the smart phone is at the ready to distract and relieve. But when we give into a habit of withdrawing into our own mental gated community, we lose touch with how we fit in. Those moments of discomfort hold a wealth of information about what is missing, and that realization motivates us to act. When students stand at the doorway of that lunchroom, having to decide which table to join, they become more aware of their relationships. Musically speaking, it is the pregnant pauses and the prolonged dissonances that establish the great arrival points and clarifies the structure. In teaching, perhaps the awkward moments of waiting, for a student to suggest their own hypothesis before we jump in, are crucial for building their curiosity and ownership. As mentors and artists, we can appreciate all kinds of experiences, not just the happy ones.
Do you have stories or tips on dealing with college teaching? I would love to hear them! Consider writing a blog around 200 words- I can post it for you.
©Hsing-ay Hsu 2016