June 15, 2020
How do you plan to facilitate a unified class environment for incoming students next year?
Teaching over a computer screen from the first day of school is going to be challenging. I’m currently brainstorming with other drama teachers across the country to adapt improv games, acting exercises and lessons that will still allow students to interact, create characters and learn about staging scenes. I really want to avoid turning the class into theater history or acting theory and keep the interactive aspect at the forefront.
How has your relationship with your students and co-workers changed due to quarantine?
I have gotten to know my students on a deeper level. We see into each other’s lives a little more: I take time to ask how they’re feeling, what is working for them with distance learning, what they’ve baked or built or how they’re taking care of themselves. If anything, this has taught me to take even more time when we return to the classroom to ask questions, more than just the cursory, “How’s everybody doing today?”
I miss my colleagues. I was on campus the other day to grab something from my classroom and it was like time stopped. Posters still on the walls, the Writer’s Week sign still hanging in the quad. It seemed surreal. I’ve shared room 410 with Ms. Oliver for almost 20 years and not seeing her every day is like missing my right arm.
What has been the biggest challenge as a teacher during distance learning?
Depression and loneliness have been very real issues during this time for adults and teenagers. Humans need that interaction. I just keep reaching out. I make phone calls and I try to reassure students that we will get through this. While the classwork or homework is important, it is not as important as one’s mental health. I hope what I’m doing is working, even if I reach just one student.