Tag Archives: theatre

Thanks-Vember 10 – Teachers who make a difference

10 Nov

In my entire schooling history, I have been lucky to have some really amazing teachers. Yes I had a few that were not great, unfortunately, but the ones that stand out had great positive impact on my life – and pushed me towards the idea of becoming a teacher myself.

In middle school, my Language Arts and Social Studies teachers taught with such enthusiasm and joy, it infected us students. We became joyful learners. We were given freedom and control of our own learning. I sometimes see my old classmates, and we still discuss the work we did in middle school. People wrote skits, performed songs. A stage was set up on a regular basis in our classroom. On more than one occasion, entire bands (drum kit, guitar amps, microphones, monitors, speakers, etc…) were set up on that stage, and songs were played about The Ramayana, The Odyssey, and The Declaration of Independence. We were treated with respect and understanding – something that can be difficult to do with 6th-8th graders.

I also began performing in middle school. I learned to play the bass guitar and the french horn, and joined the drama club. I discovered that even though I was a shy, quiet, nerdy girl in the classroom, I didn’t have to be that onstage. In 8th grade, supported by my teachers and classmates, I won our school’s annual Lip Sync. It was a big deal in Middle School, and even though a long time has passed, people still recognize me from that moment. It was my taste of fame, and I immediately wanted more. I never would have done it if my teachers hadn’t provided me with the opportunity to discover what it felt like to perform.

In high school, as many people do, I struggled to fit in. I didn’t go to the high school that my middle school fed into. Instead, encouraged by one of my friends, I enrolled in the school that my neighborhood was supposed to feed into. I wasn’t sure who I was, in this group of new people. With the help of my English teacher I discovered I was a writer and a reader, even more than I had realized. With the help of the band director I discovered I was part of a family of crazy band members – and an actual musician. When I joined the drama class, I directed shows. I organized fundraisers. I became a performer, once again. I was asked to be a Teachers Assistant my senior year, and ended up teaching most of the beginning drama class. Except for the day two football players picked me up and held me in the air for the whole class, it went well. I loved it. I loved drama and I loved teaching, and I had the realization that these two things could go hand in hand.

All these teachers have one thing in common – they gave me a voice, and listened to me. They handed me the reins to my own education and let me drive – with a little guidance. In To Teach, Bill Ayers says: “Teachers must be experts and generalists, psychologists and cops, rabbis and priests, judges and gurus, and, paradoxically, students of our students.” (p 17) I know what I learned from my teachers – I wonder what they learned from me.

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Thanks-vember 8

8 Nov

I’m sleepy, so this is short, but I’ve got a double-thanks for you all.

1) I’m thankful for my Dyad partner, and the students we work with. I taught a 2-period block humanities class today, on Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. It went really well, especially for my first time teaching a lesson on my own. Hooray! (I’m also thankful for my mentor teacher helping me plan, and for Sherman Alexie who wrote such an amazing book.)

2) I’m thankful for all the theatre in Seattle. I met my lovely man-friend in a show. I met most of my Seattle friends through theatre. And tonight we saw a free show, with many amazing actors, and blood, and gore, and Shakespeare. (Or at least, probably Shakespeare.) Greenstage, famous for their summer “Shakespeare in the Park” shows, also puts on what they call a “Hard Bard” show every year – Shakespeare (or one of his contemporaries), made ridiculously, over-the-top gory. There is a splash zone. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s amazing. This year’s Hard Bard show is Cardenio, which, even in it’s original form, is fairly over the top and messed up. If you’re into awesome, graphic, gory theatre, I highly recommend seeing the show.

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