The inevitability of informational trancendence

August 22, 2005 at 10:52 pm (Personal, Theatre, Work)

First of all, I apologize to those few people who care for my lack of posts in the past few weeks. Things have been occurring at an extremely rapid pace, and I find myself reeling in the wake of all the changes life has brought me as of late. I suppose I should begin at the beginning, go through the middle until the end, and then stop, as that’s how most stories go.

I got to school the other day for grad orientation. In our Theatre dept. all the grad students must be there for workshops, policy changes, introductions to the new students and other such happenings. Several people needed to speak with me all at once, which was a bit disconcerting. Turns out that they’ve completely changed my assistantship.

I’m teaching a section of Theatre 101, Theatre Insight, which is an overview of the whole of being a theatrical artist. Interesting subject matter, but the terror in my heart springs more from the lack of experience teaching than the lack of information on the subject. Of course I know more than them… of course I can talk in front of people… but every time I close my eyes, I imagine them as angry pirates who want to pillage me.

The second part of my duties this year include the position of House Manager for the McLeod Theatre. This was interesting news, as such jobs are highly coveted and quite an honor to receive. I’m the fellow you see in the lobby shaking hands, kissing babies, putting out fires and pointing ushers toward confused patrons! I’m looking forward to the PR opportunities there, but of course that adds another brand new experience to my acclimation process this semester.

The teaching was still terrifying even as I walked in to the classroom for the first time today. 55 students, about half of which were there when I walked in, were waiting for me to impart grandiose wisdom on them, or at least looking for an easy A. I tried to explain while going through the syllabus that this is not an easy A class. I hope that they believed me, although somehow I doubt it.

For the first half of class, I was hyper aware of my own nervousness, which made for a lot of pacing back and forth, the occasional “uhhh” and a good deal of confused note-checking by yours truly. I definitely need to work on my classroom confidence, or they’ll smell the fear and eat me alive. Happily, once we got going, they paid attention and were generally participatory.

One group near the back of the room was working together on my “What is theatre?” exercise. A couple of guys who looked like they’d rather be in metal shop, and an Mtv princess type — or so I thought. After going through most of the answers, I called upon them to answer whether or not my walking into class that day with bright red hair and asking them questions about the nature of theatre was indeed “theatre.” They surprised me with an excellent answer: “Yes, because I’m standing in front of an audience and conveying information or emotion.” THE MESSAGE. YES YES YES. I’m starting to look forward to this? Well well…

One source of amusement for me was looking out on the crowd and seeing three or four freshman girls in various parts of the room paying rapt attention while I talked. They looked at me with doe eyes and cute smiles that told me all about why they were paying attention to me. At least they’re paying attention, even if it’s for the wrong reasons. One of them was her group’s spokesperson and they also did the question about me lecturing (what is theatre) and she said it was… because there was costume to it (my shirt and hair) and I was entertaining the audience… then she said “And you’re… arousing…” I stopped. The class stopped. Then we all laughed. She continued: “Arousing… interest in your students!” The poor thing looked pretty embarrassed, but it was pretty funny.

That’s where I’m at… my own classes start tomorrow. More stories to come, I’m sure…

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2 Comments

  1. iheartfiber said,

    Haha, poor little doe-eyed dinkus. That’s hilarious though. I’m telling you, teaching is wonderful, once you get passed the nerves.

  2. daughterofjesus said,

    oh….
    i feel so bad for your student with the freudian forked tongue. that’s so interesting though, that she would say that…guess you got a few jills on your hand 😉 just don’t get any ideas hehe (i know you would never do anything like that). good luck on this semester!

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