Thursday, October 20, 2016

Teaching Theatre is my Happiness

The Importance of Feeling Important

I have 160 (260 if you can't after-school rehearsals) different students each day.  Each of them needing, in their own way, to feel important.  The girl who incessantly asks me if I need her to do anything.  The boy who is constantly speaking (out of turn) his opinion about all things under the sun.  The girl who plays "scorpion" with her friend so she can get a bandaid from me and tell me how bad it hurts...and her friend in another class that does the same thing.  Boys that like to be class clowns; girls who want to be in charge.  Kids who go over the top in trying to please me with their acting and behavior; kids who just want me to notice them.

Actually, I get it.  I want to feel important too!  I work my tail off doing a production because, yes, I do love the kids, but also because I know my name is at the top of the program and that makes me feel important!  I serve on committees and hold church callings (in part) because I want to be somebody.

We all need to feel important, we all need to be somebody.  We all need to know that we are worthwhile and necessary. do I make 260 kids feel important?  It's impossible to talk to each one of them everyday.  Sometimes (sad but true) I am so busy thinking about "things" that I forget what or who is more important.

Isn't that what teaching is all about!  Helping your students to see that they are important, that they are worthwhile, that they do make a difference!  Helping them to understand that what they do matters!  And hopefully, along the way, helping them to understand that PEOPLE matter.  ALL PEOPLE MATTER!!

So, here is my feeble attempt to show my students they are important to me:

I smile at them
I hold the door for them
I talk to them as much as possible
I plan meaningful lessons for them
I provide them with props, costumes, scenery, etc
I buy them treats
I stay after school for them

I do care about the fact that they play scorpion, that they are sick or lonely, that they feel like they have to get attention anyway possible.  I care!  I really do care!  And I hope that someday they will see that what I do...I do for them...because they are important to me! return, I hope that someday...they will do things for other people, because they will know that feeling important is necessary!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Teaching Theatre is my Happiness!

What I LOVE about teaching THEATRE!

"The Students" (from High School to Intermediate School):  My high school kids loved me!  They did (and I know sometimes I wasn't very lovable!)  How do I know they loved me?  They hung out in my room, they brought me chocolate, they brought me Coke Zero (which I gave up a year ago---sadness), they wrote me thank you cards, they hugged me, they got after me when I swore (thank you guys, I don't swear no more!) they wanted to be my friends on Facebook (which I only accepted after they graduated.) They send me wedding invitations and baby announcements! They still send me messages years later, and they even come to visit me!

My intermediate students love me too!  They knock constantly on my door before school and at lunch!  (Can I get anything done?!) They want to show me this, or ask me that, or can we please clean your room, etc.  They also bring me chocolate sometimes, or sweaty little Swedish fish out of their pockets, and gifts cards for teacher appreciation week!  They give me high-fives in the hall, and forgive me if I make them cry (I try not to do that very often.)  They work hard for me with a minimum of complaining.

"The Students"...MY kids!  (and they will always be my kids!)  That's why teaching Theatre is my happiness!  I want them to succeed! I want them to love themselves, to develop confidence, and coping skills.  I want them to be strong, and take responsibility!  I want them to have fun, to grow, to create, to live.

So,  I make them participate in the games we play in class.  And I push them on stage to try harder, work smarter, and be better.  I love when they get applause and feel good about themselves.

And guess what?  I love them.  I show up to work each day...usually with a smile on my face.  I talk to them in the hall and give them high-fives.  I let them into my room before school; I make lesson plans so they can learn.  I bring them candy and think of excuses to give it to them.  I listen to their sad stories, and their corny jokes.  I love when I see them at the mall!  I stay after school and work for hours so they can succeed.  They make me happy!

And that's why I teach!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Teaching Theatre is my Happiness!

Puppets in Class

So...I thought it would be a great idea to have my students do a puppet show!  I used to love puppets when I was a kid.  This ought'ta be great!

I spent a little fortune on puppets (or rather my principal came up with the $) at the end of last year, so I could start a puppet unit this year.  Puppets are not cheap (well, some least cheaply made) and to buy enough for 30-35 students to each have one was costly.  (A note:  Do not buy puppets from Oriental Trading if you plan to use them!)

At any students have been working hard (or hardly) for a week and a day now to get their puppet shows ready for performance.  I can't wait to see them!  I do have some super fun, imaginative students!

The groups were assigned (yes, I know...mean teacher), and the sacks of puppets were handed out!  The crowd went wild!  And I do mean wild!  Good thing I have a microphone.

It became apparent we needed some rules for safe puppet handling (and these rules are not just mere guidelines):

No hitting each other with the puppets, do not put them in your mouth, you can not play football with them, no, you must use the puppets in your sack trading.  I do not want to see one more puppet flying through the air!

So, they brainstormed, completed a storyboard (or were supposed to) and then wrote a script for their puppets.  Meanwhile, I made two puppet Theatres out of donated washer and dryer boxes.  A parent also brought in some faux (fake) corrugated cardboard that looks like wood and bricks!  Fantastic!  I put that on the outside of the boxes, cut a big hole, used lots and lots of duct tape (some also donated, yea!) and found some old black fabric for the curtains.  (Originally, the students were going to make scenery, but we found out it takes longer to write a script as a group than expected, if you are in 6th and 7th grade.)

Then, I watched, and provided paperclips, staples, erasers, paper, tape, opinions, and more paper and tape.  I refereed, threatened, cajoled, and praised!  (A couple of kids opted for time out.)

We learned about projecting, (why can they when I don't want them to, and can't when I want them to?) enunciation, and characterization in voice.  They understand how not to turn their puppets to the floor (because your audience is not laying on the floor) and that you need to be careful not to knock over the puppet Theatre while you are performing.

Now, tomorrow!  The performances!  We are anticipating, aliens, weddings, Willy Wonka, murder mysteries, kidnappings, evil villains, super heroes, romances, sword fights, and hungry people-eating T-Rexes!

I can't wait!

Caveat!  My students ROCK!  I WILL do this assignment again!  Performances were so much fun!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Teaching Theatre is my Happiness!

50 Word Short Story:  A storytelling assignment for my 6th and 7th graders.

Mine:   School
Incessant whining... "I really gotta go to the bathroom?"  "I can't find my pencil?"  "Now, what are we doing?"  "I need a drink, I feel sick."  "Is it time to go home yet?"  The morning bell comes the kids.  Shush up's time for you to teach!

My favorites!

Conners:  Ready or Not
She has been looking for him, but he was hiding.  She was getting closer, and closer, and closer.  It was very dark where he was hiding. She couldn't find him.  Finally she found him in the closet.  She dragged him to it...but he didn't want to take a bath.

Spencer's:  Run
It's here!  I grabbed my things and I started to run out the door.  I was running and running down the street.  I could hear him.  "He's getting away!"  I ran even faster.  I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body.  "I can see IT!" But, the ice cream truck was gone.