Mentor teacher tips

 

 

 

Ann Miceli Teed is a doctoral student at Columbia University, NY, focusing on Holistic, Expressive Arts For Resilience and Well-being. She holds a National Parents Choice Gold Award for her family music album: The Shooting Star Express - A Journey to the Land of Imagination and has toured the tri-state area sharing her original music comedy with audiences of all ages. Nicknamed "Hurricane Annie", she is a musician and lead vocalist for "Annie and the Attaboys," a regional band of the Hudson Valley.

Teed is an energetic educator who exudes positivity in all of her endeavors. Her eclectic background and skillset makes for a teaching style rooted in multimodal exploration. I’ve taken two courses led by Teed, and have noted the trust and latitude she consistently affords her students. For a given project, one student might write a poem; another might film a stop-motion animation; another might create and perform a series of songs. This makes for a rich combination of artworks when the time comes to share with peers. However, this approach also poses a unique set of challenges. I’ve long thought that allowing wide parameters around creative output can be just as paralyzing as requiring very strict ones. 

I was curious as to what aspect of this style of teaching Teed found most difficult. She replied that engaging each student as an individual remains a tall order. “I feel that making sure I can reach out to EACH student and assist them to achieve the greatest potential still remains my biggest challenge,” she answered, “It is a combination of getting to know the student’s strengths and weaknesses and then ‘lifting them’ and challenging them.” Teed and I agreed that investing this type of one-on-one attention is especially difficult under the conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. She noted that it’s harder to “boost, nudge, or even give a little kick in the butt” to students virtually.

 

Encouragement is crucial to Teed’s teaching process. “The last thing you want is to deflate them,” she says. “You want to have students believe they can reach the sky, discover something new, or present a new way of doing or seeing. You need to praise and push. It’s a delicate dance…”