Sunday, November 12, 2006

Start! The Bus! Start Start The Bus!!

We are taking all the English II students to a local production of Julius Caesar this week. The company is doing a matinee for students and so we are loading up a bus, taking kids to the play and lunch, and hopefully coming home with zero casualties.

Read this with no sarcasm: I am so excited I can't stand it.

I took a little survey when I had all the kids on Friday and found that for most, this is their first time to see a play that isn't a school production. Some of the kids haven't even seen a school play. This is their first ever live theatre experience. This is a big deal to me. I take very seriously the duty to get these kids to the theatre because I owe much of who I am to a teacher who took her students to the theatre.

My mother grew up poor. I realize I run the risk of sounding like the long lost verse of the Clarence Carter song, but culture wasn't much of a priority when it was difficult to feed four kids. She had a teacher in Junior High, however, who took her class to a play. That doesn't sound like a very big deal, but it really was.

See, because my mother enjoyed that play, she suggested that my Dad take her a play sometimes when they dated. Then when they got married and had a family, they made it a priority to take us to plays.

And so, the monster was created.

My parents took us to see Annie when I was eight years old. By this time, I was already showing signs of ham actor-dom. I was very verbal very early and former babysitters often tell stories of my dying swan act at bedtime. When I saw that play and realized that those were actual kids on that stage, I knew I had to figure out how to do that. All the time.

That outing begat a series of acting classes, school productions, voracious play reading, and Oscar acceptance speech planning (heady stuff for a pre-teen, I know). When the time came for college, my parents accepted my wish to major in Theatre with the caveat that I get an education degree.

The rest is history (and my present). I student taught, realized that I loved this job and loved paying off student loans. It's grown from teaching Theatre for me to teaching kids. I have taught a lot of stuff in these thirteen years and the rush I get from all of them is similar. It all goes back to that play, however. My mom doesn't remember what the play was, I don't know how important that is, but it started a new way of looking at the world for her. I don't know who I would be today if that teacher hadn't loaded up that bus.

I hope we get through the day without incident. I hope no cell phones go off, no one misses the bus, and that no one wears houseshoes. I hold out hope also that there might be a seed of change on our bus.


Anonymous said...

I think that same production of Annie was what started my journey. I remember it was 2nd grade and I missed the science fair award ceremony to go with my mom and her high school English class to Annie. (My dad accepted my 2nd place trophy for my rock collection in my absence). Clearly this was the fork in the road that lead me into the arts (and later, education) and away from...well...everything else.

educat said...

That fork led you away from a lifetime of rock collecting is what!!

How excitingly eerie that it was the same production! Both those cars leaving the Southside at the same time!

Anonymous said...

You shall be that teacher that loaded up the bus for several of your kids, I am certain!

educat said...

Fellow Ed, if you are who I think you are, I think you'd best start that bus soon for your little ladies. You have one of those girls on your hands!

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Brave, brave girl, to go see a local production of Annie.

For me, it was when my mom intoduced me to the library, which was very cheap, and I could read a LOT of books in two weeks' time. And then get more! It was MAGIC!