Today become a story hunter and gatherer

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In TeachNow, we define four levels of teaching:

Information, Experience, Inspiration, and Transmission. Stories are THE super-powerful way to incorporate all four levels.

But perhaps you don’t see yourself as a “story teller” or feel you don’t have any stories to tell or that you don’t have ‘teaching stories’ that make your point.

I used to feel like that, too. I wanted to be a honeyed-voice raconteur keeping you spellbound with my stories… but I wasn’t. So I gave up on telling stories.

What a fixed mindset and what baloney. We can all be good enough storytellers. We can all learn to spin a yarn!

The fact is you tell stories ALL THE TIME. Our brains are structured to live in narrative. We are all master storytellers – we just need to start seeing those stories and polishing them up a bit.

To do this, STOP being so literal about what a story is or what purpose it might serve in your teaching.

Instead, put your story ears on and collect every story fragment you read or hear or hear yourself saying for the next week – every little thing that happens to you or that you find interesting. It can be one line, “The bird hit the window and the dog jumped up to see what it was,” or a story you hear on NPR, or a story about you hearing a story on NPR!

Be sure and write your story bits down!

Then come to the free class on April 3rd at 4pm Pacific and raise your hand when I ask for one story gatherer. We will work with one person’s story bits and turn them into something you can use to teach your next class. And that lucky person (maybe you!) will win a free spot in TeachNow.

Here are few more ideas for story gathering:

  • Review your day for stories and jot down brief notes to remember what happened. Every day something happens that makes a good story.
  • Convene a story gathering circle with a friend or your family. Trade stories you’ve gathered over dinner, during your morning commute, or via email.
  • Do a free write for 10 minutes using the prompt, “The stories I most love about my life include…” Don’t edit out the hard or ugly ones. Collecting them does not mean you have to use them, only that you are letting them feed your teaching imagination.
  • Yes, it is okay to collect other people’s stories, but PLEASE credit them.
  • Get inspired by listening to the “Moth” or “Studio 360” podcasts.

Stories are teaching’s lifeblood — they can illustrate information, create shared experience and suggest experiences to “unpack” the stories, and they inspire and transmit emotion and energy.

Go get yourself some stories and then bring a tidbit or two to class on April 3rd. Sign up for the call right here – that’s the only way to can get your reminders and the replay.

Love,

Jen

Write Your Ideal Student a Love Letter

Ever consider writing a love letter to your future students? It’s a powerful way to release your doubts and fears and get clear on what you want to teach. Michele – whom I co-created TeachNow with – wrote one that I’d like to share with you as inspiration for your next course creation and marketing efforts.

My dear student,

I used to bang my head against the wall, thinking it was difficult to connect with you. I thought you were indifferent — or even hostile — to my offers. I thought I had to convince you or exhaust myself with over-giving in order to make you want my work.

I realize now that you have been looking for me, as much as I was looking for you. Now, I’m relaxed, focusing on making sure I share plainly what I offer, sharing little tastes of my work, and getting the word out in fun, easy ways so you will run across me easily in your search.

When we begin working together, I resolve to give you the just-right amounts of information and transformation so you’re neither under-stimulated nor overloaded. May I be sensitive to your capacity — and to my own enthusiasm. May I remember that the things I’m learning right now are NOT the same as the things you need to learn from my program right now. And that you may learn best from your peers in the program, from other resources, or from tools I set up online or in audio or video or pdf formats. What a relief to remember I don’t have to be the source of everything.

When your questions and needs bring up something I hadn’t thought of yet, I promise not to go into one of my funky freak-outs: it doesn’t mean I’m not a good teacher or that I “shoulda thought of that!” – just that I am lucky enough to be in learning from you.

Thank you for learning with me,

Michele

Now it’s your turn. Write a letter to a student you want to serve. Picture him or her as you write. Just one student for one offer. Stay focused. (I know, that can be hard. This isn’t about everything you will ever teach, just this class or course.)

Share your fears and frustrations. Imagine your student answering back, helping you focus on giving her what she needs and wants. Allow yourself to release being a “helicopter teacher” and paint a picture of how you would love to work with your students.

TeachNow-Affiliates-Badge-230x205Hope to see you on March 19th for a sample taste of TeachNow – I’ll be talking about helicopter teaching, learning to love negative feedback, and other juicy topics. This is an actual class, not a sales call, so you can see if TeachNow is a fit for you. Sign up here.

Love,

Jen