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On the Ground - A Balancing Act: Keeping the Artist in Teaching Artist

Njoli Brown
Njoli Brown

Thanks to guest writer and Leadership Trainer Julianna Rusakiewicz for this piece. For more on keeping the artist in teaching artist, visit ArtFire.

By Julianna Rusakiewicz

When I taught yoga to middle school students, lessons on balance were my favorite. While balance is a major component of one's yoga practice, I find it much more important in one's personal life. When discussing balance with young ones, it tends to be more about homework against television and ice cream against vegetables, but sometimes, even as an adult, I have to remind myself to choose green beans over cheesecake for dinner. Despite these small daily obstacles, I don’t feel like balancing the rest of my life is a difficult task, except when the 4 train decides to go local.

As a teaching artist, I posses two jobs; making art and teaching others to make, and appreciate, art. While I balance the two weekly, I find that they inform one another rather than interfere. When developing theater, I collaborate with many other artists. It is through these conversations that I discover more about the piece on which I am working. I learn of different perspectives and alternate ways of presenting information. So, I find the time I spend with my students can be used as another way to learn more about art, myself, and the world around me.

Of course, there are weeks when I wish I could be in two places at once, and sometimes I have to remind myself to think about my art after class, but if I view teaching as another opportunity to collaborate with artists, everyone benefits.

Oh, and a sturdy daily planner helps, too.

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Njoli Brown

By Njoli Brown

Njoli Brown is a comprehensive education consultant. He uses art, athletics, literature, interactive activities and pointed processing to create programs which engage students and educators from varied backgrounds in expansive learning processes. Through an array of both domestic and international work, Njoli has been able to accrue experience with numerous teaching methodologies and so, creates environments which feel collaborative, fun and practical. As a writer of curriculum for programs ranging from conflict transformation to young men's mentorship, classroom management to effective teambuilding, Njoli has a firm grasp on capacity building for facilitators, teachers, managers and project/program coordinators. He continues to write about art, education, travel and equity on his public forum: http://www.papernopaper.com