Meghan, one of New York City Children’s Theater’s amazing teaching artists, takes us behind the scenes of NYCCT’s ARC training.
I joined the team at New York City Children’s Theater right when I moved to the city as an education apprentice. This was the theater’s first year with ARC, and so I had the opportunity to participate in the ARC training sessions, learn from the teaching artists, and study the ARC curriculum. Since that year working as an apprentice, I have become a teaching artist with NYCCT along with various organizations in the city. Training with NYCCT has been a foundation for me as a teaching artist in New York.
In our first ARC training session with the drama therapist, we learned how the arts are a healing tool for trauma.This gave me an amazing perspective on the creative arts sessions I would lead. An example of how the arts can heal are the “Container” exercises where we use imagery and breathing to contain and put away stressful thoughts.These exercises can also be used outside the classroom for students to practice self-regulation. I strive to incorporate what I learned with ARC into my classes across New York.
In addition to providing us with techniques to use in the classroom, the ARC training also gives us resources to have a calm mind outside of the classroom.
In training sessions, we also learned about “Mirroring,” which is when a young person will feel and experience what a teacher is feeling. When a teacher is angry and stressed, a student will then take on this emotion. When a teacher feels calm and open, so will the student. It can be challenging for me to stay calm when a student is anxious, but the ARC training has helped me find ways to calm myself so I can best help the student in need.
In addition to providing us with techniques to use in the classroom, the ARC training also gives us resources to have a calm mind outside of the classroom. The facilitator framed the importance of this with the image, “if you’re in a crashing airplane, you need to put on your mask before you take care of anyone else.” A great way to help me “put on my own mask” are the teaching artist reflections we do at ARC. I love reflecting with NYCCT teaching artists about this work and finding the best practices together.
I am so grateful for my time with New York City Children’s Theater ARC training, as well as the amazing classroom experiences. Students have said, “This program makes me feel brave” and “Thank you for helping me to be not shy!” I look forward to future programming and opportunities with this inspiring, life-changing community!
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