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Going Back to Teaching in Person

On July 31, I will be going back to teaching improv in person. The last time I taught in person was March of 2020. It’s been a long time.

The world has changed and so have I.

I have learned a lot by teaching on Zoom and I look forward to continuing to do so.

I am one of the fortunate ones. I got to keep teaching what I love to do online. I survived and at times even thrived. I am grateful that I got to work with some of the best improvisers all over the country who taught me a lot.

One of the things that I enjoyed about teaching on Zoom, is that I had to approach teaching with a beginner’s mind, which means that I had to look at things as if I was seeing them for the first time. It was stressful at first, learning both the technical and the artistic side at the same time, but after asking for a shitload of help from other teachers, I eventually thrived.

Through teaching online, I became a better teacher. I learned to be more patient, more positive, and more compassionate to my students. I started looking for what the students were doing right and stop trying to fix them.

The students kept telling me how important it was for them to be able to continue to take improv classes, even though they couldn’t do it in person, and how much they looked forward to class every week. It became more than just teaching improv — it became a way to give people the human connection they craved as they stayed isolated in their homes.

Going back to teaching in-person classes and workshops seems new to me, and I am sure as I get closer to the date, I will get nervous, just like I did when I started teaching on Zoom.

And while I’m really looking forward to it, I’m sure it’s going to be emotional on that first day back in person when we do our first warm-up game together. It’s been a long time, and I’ve really missed you all.

I hope you can join us. I would love to see you in person.

Want to study with Jimmy in person? Don’t miss his Two-Person Scene Tune-Up on July 31! Sign up today!

2020: The Blessings of Covid

This year sucked, and we all know why — Covid.

But it hasn’t all been a shit sandwich. Although I have certainly missed seeing my friends, going to restaurants, and performing in live theaters, Covid has brought me many blessings as well.

I learned to adapt and teach improv online, thanks to the generosity of my friends who teach improv who encouraged me that I could do it. And because I have been teaching online, I am getting students from all over the country and all over the world who want to work with me.

Covid has also meant that I have had less distractions, which has meant more peace and serenity and more time with my daughter, Betsy, and my wife, Lauren.

Thanks to Covid, we went on more outdoor adventures this year, too — canoeing, horseback riding, blueberry picking, apple picking, and even just walks around the neighborhood. Things I would have never done without a pandemic to give me a push, and I enjoyed them.

I had a lot more time to play with my daughter and get to watch her incorporate “coronavirus” into her play. When she played with her Disney Princess dolls, they had to get their temperature taken before they could enter Cindrella’s castle. One of her baby dolls got Covid and had to quarantine in a hamper for 20 days. She is still sitting in there as I write.

As a family, we would often play a game at dinner listing off things want to do after coronavirus, and then afterward we had a ritual of playing a boardgame or doing a puzzle together.

I have spent hours on the floor coloring in coloring books. It’s been like art therapy. I can’t explain the calming effect and sense of accomplishment I feel when I am finished coloring.

Yes, sometimes the togetherness gets to be a bit much, but overall, Covid has made my life is simpler and slower, and because of it, I feel more connected. I actually feel joy at times and deep sense of gratitude.

Of course, I don’t feel this way all of the time. Throughout the pandemic, I have sometimes also felt a low-level of depression and a real fear for the future, but as I write this, things are fundamentally good in my life.

I feel guilty telling you all this, because I know that many people are really suffering — with job loss, sickness and even death — and I am picking out the blessings that I’ve experienced.

That being said, I hope next year doesn’t suck as much as this year, and that you have many more blessings in 2021.

Happy holidays, happy New Year and stay safe.

Want to start the New Year off right? Don’t miss Jimmy’s online Weekend Intensive, happening Jan. 9-10! Sign up by Dec. 2 to save!