Community-Word Project's Teaching Artist Training & Internship Programs's (TATIP) follow ups, such as debriefs, seminars, and one-on-one meetings, provide excellent support for Teaching Artists, once they have finished their training.
Debrief meetings are a great way to regroup and discuss important topics related to classes, where Teaching Artists work. They offer a rare space for busy Teaching Artists to go over any issues and concerns that may have come up, or to merely give each other updates. This is especially helpful, as information via email may get lost in translation or forgotten. Debriefs give the opportunity for TAs to catch up on all that has gotten lost through the cracks. The debrief meetings offer a safe environment that allows TAs to speak freely and honestly about any concerns. They also serve as a platform for TAs to support one another. Debriefs are especially beneficial for entry-level trainees. Hearing the constructive feedback, given at the end of these demonstrations, provides a solid professional perspective, so TAs can learn from others’ successes and mistakes. Debriefs let us know that we are not alone, especially after finishing up our training sessions so quickly. Debriefs remind us we still have a lifeline and resources.
The one-on-one meetings are an excellent way for an individual to get feedback on how they are doing individually, without the pressure of a large group. This is incredibly helpful for new TAs, who are establishing themselves in the field and may need specific guidance.
Seminars can provide a way for TAs to expand and broaden their artistic interests and channel them in the classroom. This creates well-rounded educators, who are better resources for the young people they teach. Many of these seminars provide more information on teaching itself and help to fine tune educational skills. Networking opportunities, which are very important for TAs to find collaborators and employment possibilities, are also available at these seminars.
Being a Teaching Artist can be very overwhelming. Many feel like they have to be flawless from the minute training ends, which is an impossible task. All the of the follow up meetings and resources show us that we are never alone and that we have an excellent safety net.