Teaching is a powerful tool, one that shifted my focus away from the harsh reality at home and in my community towards something gratifying, empowering, and pleasurable.
My teaching philosophy is very much patterned on my ideas and experiences within community-based theatre practices. Students are collaborators and creators, just the same as I. I am committed to reciprocity and collaboration throughout the entire process of art making – from visioning (what can we do? Are we going to do anything at all?), ideation (what might this look like? What is our aesthetic? What are some ideas?), to implementation (let’s put on this play! Let’s create a mural on Farmer Avenue!).
I am not the expert in the room; each person possesses knowledge that another does not, together we create a common vocabulary and utilize our skills and strengths in service of our art, our voice, our communities, and our liberation.
I do not believe in starting investigations from taken for granted assumptions and mainstream understandings. For me, inquiry begins with what is unseen, what is felt, what is unspoken, what is beyond us. I prioritize the insights of indigenous peoples, people of color, those from outside the USA, queer peoples, trans* folks, those with differing ability statuses, and those from working class backgrounds. The material I choose to highlight in spaces of learning is always chosen and approached with ideas of practicality, usability, and accessibility. Theory is a way of making sense of something and it ought not live solely in the realm of abstraction.