Thursday, June 07, 2007

A new beginning

One year ago I was going to give up theatre. I had spent a decade filling out dozens of applications and sending hundreds of query letters each spring, and I was just too beaten to try anymore. I was sadly resigned to never getting what I most wanted.

Then I got the “miracle” call from Kevin, and I got to go to Northampton to work with all of you. I learned so much about community, and listening, and personal fulfillment that it changed everything about how I teach.

As excited as I was to be a new person in the classroom, I was extremely discouraged by my principal’s decision to prevent me from attending the month-long intensive in January. She never forgave me for filing a grievance against her decision, and she started building a paper trail of minor infractions in what would become an effort to fire me. My year was one of antagonism and animosity, and it was very hard on me.

But unlike previous hard years, this year I had all of you. You offered me consolation and support when I most needed it, and you reminded me why this work is worth fighting for. Your encouragement must have changed something about my luck, because I just signed a contract in a new district to be a theatre teacher.

It’s not my ideal job (it’s a Title I middle school), but it’s far better than a school that hates me. For the first time in my adult life I’ll actually be getting paid to teach theatre. I’m excited, and very nervous at the same time. I’ve never filled out a purchase order, or arranged bus transportation, or publicized a show. I’ve never taught this age group. I haven’t even directed a play in several years. If you run a theatre department and/or teach middle school I’d love to bend your ear, especially about show choices. I know thirteen-year-olds won’t be playing Willy Loman, but I don’t want to be stuck with Winnie the Pooh either.

Once again, thank you so much. You helped me be a better teacher, which means you gave me everything I ever wanted.


At 10:16 PM, Blogger chitarita said...

Yay, yay, yay, YAY!
I couldn't be happier for you, my friend. And that's speaking as a Title 1 junior high school drama teacher. :)
If we weren't states away, I'd say let's do lunch. Alas! Phone call?

At 12:19 AM, Blogger educat said...

Still smiling about this!! Still!! And it's not even my job!!!

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Walker said...

Hurrah! (And I'm a Title I high school drama teacher.)

1. One acts are great with middle school kids
2. Thrift stores are your friend--we have one who will loan us clothes as long as we bring them back "unharmed" or they let us exchange. We take some clothes/other items and donate some to replace.
3. Suck as many other departments into your productions as possible: it makes the whole school feel like they "own" the play too.



At 10:21 AM, Blogger Ariana said...

Yes! Congratulations! I am so happy for you. I spent the last year teaching in a title I school and while at times it was difficult, it was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. I agree with Mel that one acts are a good bet. Keep us posted!


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