In my acting classroom I am guided by my foundational beliefs that …
Storytelling and play are human instincts and human rights, as integral to the fabric of our societies and the evolution of human history as the invention of the wheel.
The worlds we create onstage have the power to shape the very real world we live in. For this reason, we must not simply train actors and artisans of the theatre, but also artists and inspired creators.
The role of actors is to listen, respond and be “in reaction to [fill in the blank].” Acting is a relational artform, an inherent co-creation, most alive in the breaths between lines and the interstices between bodies.
A physically and mentally sustainable career as an actor is not just possible, but imperative.
The greatest art asks questions, rather than provides answers. The greatest art exceeds the aims and goals of its creator.
My students have a great deal to teach and share within them, and that my role as a teacher is to empower my students to become independent and self-reflective artists.
Why do I teach?
First, I teach because I believe that all young people deserve a safe space to grow and to develop mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe there is wisdom within each of us - deep knowing and intelligence that is innate. Under the right conditions, safe conditions, this wisdom can blossom, helping a young person grow into their fullest expression of self.
When I refer to my classroom as a "safe space" what do I mean?
I mean that as your teacher I will respect you - not only for your accomplishments but also for your struggles and challenges. I will teach you how to think, not what to think and hold space as you take intellectual "risks." I will value and celebrate your unique skills and talents. I will make space not only for your ideas, but also for your feelings. I will communicate with you clearly, concisely, compassionately, and confidently. I will offer you constructive feedback rather than praise and develop curriculum that centers around the classes interests, needs, and strengths. I will come to every class with open ears, an open heart, and an open mind. In my classroom every inch of your humanity - your joy, your fears, your dreams, your opinions, your doubts, your passions - is welcome.
Second, I teach because in an ever-changing world, education could not be more critical. The process of inquiry, of learning to ask questions, to think critically, to bounce back after failures, and to problem solve helps young people become the responsive, receptive, and resilient citizens that our world needs.
My commitment to arts education stems from my belief that everything is interconnected and that how we relate to ourselves reflects and impacts our relationships with everyone and everything around us. By discovering, celebrating, expressing, and cultivating our individuality through acting, painting, singing, dancing, or writing we can make the world of tomorrow a safer, gentler, more sensitive, more accepting place.
What do I promise my students?
As a teacher I promise my students respect. I promise that all will feel valued and celebrated for their unique talents and skills. I promise to stand by my students if and when they face struggles and challenges. I promise that my classroom will be one where playfulness, fun, and imagination are encouraged. I promise that my communication will be clear, concise, compassionate, and confident. I promise to offer constructive feedback rather than praise, to make space for feelings in the classroom, and to develop my curriculum around student interest, student need, and student strengths. I promise to listen with open ears, an open heart, and an open mind. I promise my students that every inch of their humanity - their joy, their shame, their dreams, their doubts, their passions - is welcome in my classroom.
How do I fit in to a school at large?
No matter where I am teaching, or with whom, my work in the classroom is part of an educational ecosystem made up of colleagues, administrators, staff, donors, parents, and students. I am committed to being an active member of any school where I teach, to representing my school and its values in the broader community, and to living my personal life in line with the values and standards to which I hold my students.
As a colleague and team member I will bring my ideas, my humility, my deep sense of duty, and my heart to any group effort. I commit to following the lead of my colleagues and mentors. I also commit to serving as a leader when it is the time and place.