A Magical Way to Teach Drama Classes

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Izzie and Matt August, 2013

Izzie and Matt
August, 2013

Last weekend, our youngest daughter was married to the man of her dreams. Honestly, I think it was one of the most authentic, sweet and happy weddings I have ever witnessed. These two are perfect for each other.

However, it was 103 degrees! (and the reception was outside….)

When our daughter informed us that she wanted to have the wedding on a. a Friday b. in late August in Kansas and c. on Labor Day weekend, I thought she was crazy. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I knew what her answer would be, so I kept as quiet as I could. There were many reasons, but primarily her respectful, but firm answer was, “This is our wedding and this is what we want!”

Our daughter knows herself, but when she was Meanie Bea’s age (you know, there is that book title again, teehee) she was as mercurial as, well,… mercury! I remember one year when all she wore to school was a neon lime green hoodie. Yes, NEON lime green (as if lime green wasn’t bright enough). When she wasn’t at school, she spent a lot of time in her bedroom singing loudly (and beautifully) to songs from musicals like Wicked. Her room was a mess, but her brain was orderly.

Our daughter can organize just about anything you need organized. School wasn’t too important to her when she was in middle school until a beloved Science teacher told her that she was plenty smart and could earn A’s if she put her mind to it. So, she did! That was the beginning of her maturity. I don’t think she is still in contact with this teacher, but if he knew what he had done for her, he’d be really proud.

A Magical Teacher

Which reminds me of the Language Arts teacher, Ms. Phillips, who directs the play in my book, Meanie Bea’. I purposely created her character to appear as though she was unaware of the enormity of producing the school play. She appears gruff, disorganized and a bit overwhelmed–at least from Beatrice’s point of view. Beatrice doesn’t say this outright. She illudes to it which, from a reader’s point of view is much more interesting, I think. Don’t you?

Teachers have a HUGE impact on their students, good or bad. I sometimes forget that when I am teaching. When I goof up (which happens nearly every day), I am brought up short by the student who doesn’t give me the reaction I expect. And it’s usually a negative reaction. Yikes! I think it’s way more gut wrenching for me than them. When this occurs, I feel like I am swimming in mud trying to get back to where I was about two minutes before I said the stupid statement.

But Ms. Phillips isn’t like that. She is direct, concise and contemplative. At one point, Beatrice asked Ms. Phillips if she was pleased with the performance of the play. Now, “successful” isn’t a word that anyone would use for the play. Maybe the cast would say it was hysterical, chaotic or awesome in a middle-school-kind-of-way. But sucessful? Nah. Ms. Phillips maintains her professional attitude all the time even when she answers Beatrice.

I’ll be honest here. I admire that! Maybe that’s why I created Ms. Phillips to be the kind of teacher that I wish I could be all the time.

Impactful Teachers

So back to our daughter…On occasion, she has taught children who end up just LOVING her. I think it’s a combination of her personality coupled with her own experiences with teachers like her Science teacher who showed his faith in her when she had none in herself. Sometimes the best teacher is the one who doesn’t know that they have taught you something. Ms. Phillips is aware of what she does, but she is unaware of her impact upon Beatrice. That’s a magical situation that no teacher can explain–it just flows organically. And really, isn’t that the best?

Congratulations Izzie and Matt!

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Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or BumblingBea.com

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About dhcbaldwin

Hello!I'm the gal you were looking for. I'm a very experienced drama teacher, play and musical director, and award winning author. Here you'll find many posts on theatre education, directing, plus advice and tips for teachers. Also, I am a happily married wife, loving mother to two swell daughters and a great step son. Most recently, I became a published author of Bumbling Bea, an award winning humorous middle grade novel about an impetuous 8th grade girl determined to play the lead role in the annual middle school play. Except a girl from Japan comes along and ruins everything! Or does she? Hope you enjoy us. Thanks! Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com. DeborahBaldwin.net

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