We had a guest speaker for class. I had a very positive impression of her and her love for theater, but I must admit that I felt a bit let down. It wasn’t very clear to me what her objective was. Was it to wax philosophical on the subject of theater? Was it to just get us to think about the role that theater has in our lives? Was it to do a couple of exercises that we might be able to do with our kids? It was a little bit too loose for me. I don’t like rigidity, but I like to know that the instructor has a handle on what he or she is doing. It didn’t seem to me that she was quite sure. Maybe, as she said, she was frazzled by day long faculty meetings and traffic.
One thing that turned me off was when we did the exercise with the shells. I was so surprised that she criticized our classmate for the way she had participated in the exercise. It was awkward. I don’t know if I should have spoken up at that point, or not. I didn’t want to make the moment worse.
I think a handout would have helped me. For instance, here are some reasons why drama is good for kids. (It helps them be more empathetic.) Here are some exercises you can do in the classroom. And then go through some exercises with us. But she seemed to go back and forth between self-indulgent philosophizing, and then impulsively getting the group to do some exercises. At one point, she said:
We need natural disasters so we don’t implode. It is the Universe’s way of dealing with its own imperfections. [New seed is faithful.] Create a safe space. Help kids make wiser, better choices. We should try to be aware that risk taking is important. Teach kids how to make good risk endeavors so they can become stronger and better people.
Okaaay. Sounds good. But, can you be more specific? As a theater type person, I get it. I know how child-like (in the best sense) theater people are, and I know how exciteable. I know they think deep thoughts, and I get the stream-of-consciousness. But as a teacher, I want something a little more clear. That’s why I love Nancy!
Later… I found this, this morning on WTOP.com. Maybe this is what the guest teacher was talking about in terms of kids being willing to take risks:
Michelle Obama told high school students taking part in a mentoring program at Georgetown University on Tuesday that being married to the president can be scary at times, because he makes the family get out of its comfort zone.
The first lady urged students not to let fear guide them after a student asked about being worried about going away to college.
“I mean this is scary,” she said. “Shoot, being married to Barack Obama? He’s got big plans. He’s always pushing us beyond our comfort zones, and I’m dragged along going, `What’s he doing now? No, not this.'”
She told the group of about 50 students from schools in Maryland, Washington and Virginia that she had her own doubts about going from a public school in Chicago to college at Princeton. She said she wondered whether she’d be able to compete with classmates who were wealthier and had gone to some of the best schools in the world. But she said she was willing to work hard and found her strengths.
“One of my strengths was that I had a big mouth, and I liked to talk a lot,” she said, adding that she tells her own daughters not to be afraid to speak up.
She said her advice for college students is not to procrastinate, to ask for help and not to get into credit card debt.
“So in college buy what you can afford, which for most college students is nothing,” she said.
The students visited classes and toured the Georgetown campus before spending about an hour with the first lady.