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Thoughts about "Be you"

To be you is find your own space of permission. When we make these video-, audio-, or written journals, we're playacting or experimenting with the invisible parts of a healthy, self-directed mindset. We're learning what it means to be mindful. Self-reflection is a natural state we are promoting, in order to pump adrenaline back into the soul. Of course we do this humbly, remembering the young person who asked, "Who are you to tell me to be myself?"

Here are some of the first "Be you" videos by New York City teachers who are participants in a Youth Voices Study Group sponsored by the New Yokr City Writing Project.

Task Discussion

  • Jimnordlinger   March 17, 2012, 11:58 a.m.

    I found the initial Detox statement shockingly difficult.  Perhaps, the challenge was in seeing myself directly in front of myself.  I was not thinking about school or my students or anything remotely altruistic.  Instead, I was watching myself primed in a self-conscious lack of control of my own presentation.  Self presentation out of control is not an easy place to live.  

    I can imagine that some students would be very reluctant to present, while others would be thrilled. I could see all sorts of levels of honesty and honest self-reflection.  And a boatload of proxies.  I need to learn to live with proxy.   This startling confrontation with a sense of one's identity in relation to others and the community could, I believe, lead to wonderful things. I believe it needs a sense of time and continuity, and this could be a wonderful thing. Detox seems, possibly,  a wonderful extension of thinking about connecting to the outside world while remaining or achieving a sense of who one wants to be.  

    I also find I am imagining the scene in the room the first day we do this, and, prior to that, my struggle to get the equipment there.  Oy vey.  Maybe I'll beg for the computer lab.   

  • Jinnette   March 17, 2012, 11:58 a.m.

    Wow, my first detox was nerve-wracking! I'm glad it's over. What was so unnerving about it? ... Perhaps the improvisation. For someone who loves to plan and script everything about life, creating a detox was a nightmare, and I don't know what it'll be like seeing myself.

    On the other hand, the detox was very meditative. Just talking without being interrupted was liberating. I used to write a lot. I have a blog that's been ignored since January. I have friends on Facebook requesting poetry, but the only original writing I've produced as of late has been a lesson plan. 

  • kimarlee   March 17, 2012, 11:55 a.m.

    I cannot lie. I know just how hard teaching is - that my struggles are not solely my own but shared by a variety of teachers in many schools across the state. That being said sometimes being a teacher is isolating. Sometimes I feel like my challenges are my own, that everything I deal with is monumental and in the end, ultimately my own to deal with. However, with a detox, I am able to let my negative thoughts go -- document all the struggles I have and the often times I feel utterly at a loss with. Being able to watch myself, the physical indicators in my face that gives way to hidden worries (and sometimes even, joy) helps me confront all the negative things in my life and then "get over it". Clearing my mind from the negative thoughts that cling onto my thoughts about teaching helps me refocus on the positive which in upon itself, absolutely vital. 

  • Amal   March 17, 2012, 11:47 a.m.

    Detox is definitely uncomfortable for me.  So uncomfortable, in fact, that I couldn't seem to help but discuss my discomfort in my Detox video about Detox. 

    Stew on that one, friends.

    I see how it could be useful for students who are comfortable with the medium of video, but I know that as a learner myself, I am much happier to jot down my thoughts and reflections in my notebook, where they will not necessarily be visited by other people or everyone on the internet.

    I know my students will see it and completely laugh at my Saturday lameness.  I can't wait to hear about that on Monday.  I imagine being surrounded by them in class, all playing my Detox video through their laptops.  Niiiiiiiiiightmare.

    Did anyone else confront the camera with semi-scripted notes?  I was a nervous wreck with my notebook in front of me.

  • Carla Cherry   March 17, 2012, 11:43 a.m.

    I am not going to lie. Recording my first detox was intimidating. I am used to public speaking because I have taught for a long time, but I am not used to being on camera. I was tempted to write a script before I spoke, but I decided to put myself in my students' shoes not worry about how I looked on camera, and just spoke from the heart.

     After I uploaded the Detox, I watched it twice, and made myself focus on what I said. To my relief, I sounded coherent and articulate, and expressed what I had wanted to say about how enthusiastic I am about participating in Youth Voices.

    I am confident that my students will embrace this process. I hope this tool will inspire increased attendance, engagement, and academic achievement.

  • Tricia Clarke   March 17, 2012, 11:42 a.m.

    Using Detox was wild! Not in a crazy kind of way, but in a never-doing-something-like-this-before kind of way.  There was definitely some trepidation and hesitation. Could I really do this? How would I look? How would I sound? Will I sound like I am making no sense at all?  

    Preparing to begin my Detox felt like getting ready to go swimming in cold water. First you use a toe to feel the water's temperature, then you wade in slowly as the water rises from your calves to your knees to your thighs, and to your waist.  Then you scoop up some water to wet your arms and back and face and then you dive in--and the water feels good!  After the swim, you feel revived and exhilarated.  

    After my first Detox, I feel like I have crossed over a barrier.  I took a challenge.  I did something that was beyond my comfort-zone.  And it was great!

  • Carla Cherry   March 17, 2012, 11:44 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tricia Clarke   March 17, 2012, 11:42 a.m.

    I love the way you compared doing a Detox for the first time to swimming in cold water. So true!