This is what my life feels like sometimes.
So. Last week. Eating lunch. During teacher in-service. The assistant principal started to ask me a question. He wanted to know if I had a pirate costume that he could borrow to have a student promote the upcoming "Treasure Island" auditions. Of course, I don't have any costumes yet, but this began a longer-than-expected conversation about how I am having doubts about whether or not enough students will audition for the spring play this year. It was a lot of work last year, and no doubt this year's play will also involve a lot of effort. However, there is so much more that will be EASIER this time since a system was a created, guanxi was established, and new paths were cut through the performing arts frontier at SYIS. Yet, I feel that many of the students who are still at our school will be deterred because of the amount of commitment that is required without the benefit of academic credit and grades for their transcripts. Also, there is the added stress of "Treasure Island" being a very male-dominated play. Although some parts can be converted into female roles, there are several that absolutely should not and CAN NOT change genders. The question is: are there enough boys at our school interested in acting? Interested in dressing up? Interested in wearing make-up? Interested in possibly singing a few ditties and fighting with fake swords and daggers? Interested in coming to rehearsals and memorizing lines? Interested in applying hairspray?
That's the question that I'm dying to know the answer to. I would love to do another play, but the ball is in the students' court right now. How interested are they? How committed are they to obtaining a balanced education, improving their English skills, and becoming character scholars?
Ok--so these thoughts, and a few others, were discussed. And all the sudden, I found myself to be teaching a high school and middle school drama elective that will last the whole year. Did I mention that it starts the day after tomorrow? I'm frantically putting together a scope and sequence, aligning it with the standards and benchmarks, lesson planning, and getting very excited for the possibilities! The great thing about this opportunity is that I will be able to do so much more with the students that sign up for this elective. "Treasure Island" is set to have auditions at the end of September. Everyone in this elective will be required to audition, but no parts are guaranteed. Auditions are open to other secondary students as well, whether or not they are in this elective. But with the extra time that this elective affords, we will be able to dig deeper into dramatic topics, run more activities and improv exercises that would otherwise be impossible, and even get a broader perspective of theater through in-class projects, case studies, and discussions. They can finally develop as actors, and in so doing, develop as individuals that view the world through unique lenses. We will be able do so much more than just "Treasure Island"! That last statement is both a blessing and a curse. For although I am excited for this opportunity, I already feel a heavier burden in my schedule that I was not anticipating.
There is another factor. Students have the option of switching electives during the first full week of school. So, I might loose students, or gain them--depending on how the elective goes. That's definitely something to think about on my behalf. I would love for this to be an option for students here. But success is a privilege and not to be taken for granted. From my perspective, it's the missing puzzle piece in their education--and I'm happy that they can finally get credit for it! :)
I'm looking forward to this new role; it means meeting new students, covering content at deeper levels, and hopefully igniting a passion for performing arts in their lives. I can't believe how fast auditions are going to creep up!
Am I crazy? Sometimes, I don't know when to stop myself.