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.