Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Touch of Class

I don't think I've told you much about my classes this term. So, here's a brief update/summary:

Period 1: Advanced Drama

I technically have 13 students on my roster, although two are currently on extended suspension (due to being caught selling meth in the bathroom and vodka in water bottles. They are not the brightest Crayons in the box, these two) and one ran away from home about three weeks ago.

So, my intrepid nine and I are putting the finishing touches on "Earnest." We'll do an evening show on Thursday and an in-class show on Friday. The students are almost memorized, but they have won a special place in my heart by requesting after-school rehearsals all week. They don't get all of the jokes, but by golly they want to do a good job telling them. We ran the show twice today after school, once at "normal" speed (70:43) and once at "double-time" (46:21). Three students didn't show, so I took on the parts of Lane, Merriman, Chasuble, and all the techie work as my faithful six rehearsed and had a grand time.

They're a small and a rag-tag bunch, but I like 'em.

Period 2 - Consultation

I get a lot done.

Period 3 - Intro to Drama

Aside from a few misfits, this class is sharp, literate, and extraordinarily enthusiastic. I love working with them, and they're coming up with great gags that actually fit the show well. This class is doing "The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood" (yes, I'm still recycling shows). The show goes up the first weekend in November, and we've just finished blocking Act 1. Due to the set for "Earnest" being up on stage and the aforementioned snowstorm, I decided we should remain in the classroom today instead of trekking across the parking lot to the other building. So instead of blocking more of Act 2, we practiced the choreography for "Men in Tights" (for bows) and started watching the Disney version of the story. Man, I loved that movie as a kid. And, not at all to my surprise, I still love it. The music is awesome, the characters are funny, and how sexy is this guy?


Also? I realized something:


Oh, funny story: I did a little meditation session with this class a few days ago. Another teacher nabbed me in the hall the next day to say that she had gotten a phone call from a parent of one of the kids in my class. Neither of us was clear on why the parent had called that teacher, but the mom was quite concerned that I was preaching 'Middle Eastern' religions in my class, 'especially when we're at war with that country.'

But, seriously. Great group of kids and I love working with them.

Period 4: Speech

Ah, speech. This class doesn't have it's stand-out leaders like last year's did, but I don't need them as much as I did last year, either. I know what I'm doing now and that makes things a heck of a lot easier. That being said, this class is one with some very strong, very easily-distracted personalities. Every day is a fight for their attention. However, it's certainly no worse than what I had teaching middle school. I'm used to handling them, but it's unusual in high school. There are a lot of freshmen in the class, and immature ones at that. Happily, they're also a talented bunch and there's some real potential for the team in the future.

They're working on Duet Acting right now, which basically means they're doing two-person scenes. I let them have most of the period to work today, but called them back together for the last 20 minutes of class to mix up the scenes - I'd call up two people who weren't working together and they would each say their lines in order, but with two totally different scenes happening. It's a fun exercise, since inevitably you get some lines that somehow make sense.

Really, I've got good class this year. I am absolutely loving not teaching English. When I did my year at STMS, I was heartsick for the lack of Theater; so I wondered how it would be in reverse. I don't miss it at all. I'm still talking about literature and writing with my drama and speech classes, but I'm not trying to find time to grade essays or teach grammar (well, at least not at school I'm not) on top of prepping two shows and coaching speech. It's a good thing, really.

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