Alternative (head)Spaces 2: The Teachening

Hi, I’m Dyalekt, and today I’m going to prove why you, artist, should endeavor to become a Teaching Artist.

A Teaching Artist is someone who teaches utilizing a specialized art or skill to help students learn better. There are many types of teaching artists, from painting to performance, and they all have a part in making education more beneficial for everyone.

Recognize the beginning of the three paragraph essay? Notice the awkward use of word padding?


Too bad. Everything you ever read from now until forever is going to look like that. Schools are becoming more automated, and life is more boring for it. You, artist, undoer of boredom, should be teaching. For selfish reasons. Well, and because you’re needed.

Let’s stick with the selfishness for now. Firstly, a classroom is the best venue for your art. It provides you with natural light, all the construction paper you could ever want, and a captive  (if crowded) audience for you to win over.

For really real, students make the best audiences. My first teachery experience was a poetry workshop for Jr. High kids. I had no idea what to do, so I just rocked like how I rock in bars, and then we talked about it. After years of experience, I still rock how I rock in bars, and then we talk about it. Performance plus talkback! Students also tend to be more open and insightful than drunk people who are busy flirting. If you listen as much as you encourage them to, your art will be better for it. If they become the listeners you encourage them to, they’ll be more discerning consumers and more critical audiences. That insipid movie directed by Blockbuster Jones doesn’t have to be how everybody spends Friday night. You have access to people who are in the midst of deciding what is true and what is awesome, and those things will be true and awesome for the rest of their lives. Businesses are already in their scholastic lives, monitoring and controlling students’ options. Might as well get in the game.

It’s not like you’d be doing anything differently anyway. I assume you, artist, make art because you have an idea/emotion that is underrepresented in the world, and you want to share your perspective in a manner that is challenging and understandable, giving the audience room to interpret your perspective in any way they see fit with the hope that a greater understanding will be found. That’s what schools need. The real secret is, “Those who can’t do, teach” is an ugly lie. You’ve been doing this, and that’s why you’re the only one who can teach it.

Plus, you can finally tell your parents you got a real job doing what you love.

Brian ‘Dyalekt’ Kushner plays with Deathrow Tull at Mercury Lounge March 2nd, and then will be ramblin’ ’bout the country in a van fulla bands.