Getting the Itch to Move Again
So I ask you -
If you could live anywhere, where would you go?
If you could teach anywhere, where would you go?
"Here let us breathe and haply institute a course of learning and ingenious studies." -Taming of the Shrew I.i
So I ask you -
Since I was at Shakespeare & Company yesterday, and thinking of you all, I thought I'd post a link to the Boston Globe review of their production of Anthony and Cleopatra. Then it turned out I don't know how to post a link, so you'll have to Google "Boston Globe Cleopatra." The Globe was far kinder than the local press, who found great fun in turning up their noses and sneering in turns at Shakespeare's dramatugy and Packer's audacity. I dunno. Maybe I'm a troglodyte, but I liked a lot of the production--especially Susan Dibble's battle choreography, and of course, the Enobarbus speech we studied with Sandy Mack.
Watch this and love it.
Howdy campers, I’m gearing up for a new year and a new life as a theatre teacher, and I’m hoping you can help me out with a dilemma I have about checking in.
We checked in at the start of every class period this past year. I enjoyed it very much, and it helped me learn all the students’ names in record time. It allowed kids to brag about accomplishments, and it let them vent about problems at school or home. It provided a forum for themselves, and I think it made a big difference in my class. My uberbitch principal warmed to the idea, even when my kids put her on the spot during my annual appraisal by forcing her to check in with the rest of the class.
However, I have doubts about checking in with my new job. Everyone tells me that middle school kids need more structure and discipline that high school kids. Harry Wong’s The First Days of School insist on seating charts, especially with rows of desks, and checking in really only works with a circle and no assigned seats. I’m also worried about the time constraints. My previous school had 75-minute class periods. My new school has 50-minute class periods. Checking in usually took about three minutes, but it would occasionally take 20 minutes if a kid had a problem to discuss. That would amount to almost half the class, and I just don’t know if I can allocate that much time to checking in.
I’ve discussed this with one or two of you over e-mail, and I’m still undecided on the issue. I worry that a middle ground—starting with a seating chart and introducing the circle later—would seem like the worst of both worlds rather than the best. Checking in gives each student a voice from the first day, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it worked for me. Plus, I don’t want to have to introduce a concept and procedure for the start of class each day if I’m hoping to abandon it as soon as possible.
Should I just go for broke and try checking in? Harry Wong would tell me not to. He’d say it’s easier to eliminate previous parameters rather than set new ones partly into the school year. It seems illogical to try something the experts would warn me against, but it just feels right to me. I’m not the kind of person who is used to accepting things on blind faith, so I’m struggling with what to do. Any suggestions?
Pics of my classroom. I tried to create a metaphorically Green space.... Though I think real plants will be making their way into the room sometime soon.
I have just accepted a position at a middle school as their drama teacher! I will be teaching 6th -8th grade drama and will be expected to direct a show at the end of the year. If you have any units, activities, or advice please send it my way. I'm very excited about taking on this position, but it will be the first time that I have taught drama and I really could use all the help and advice you have to offer.