Yesterday (March 18, 2010) through a set of circumstances, I ended up with a drama class in my band room. A couple of them had asked if they could come to my room instead of sit in the cafeteria with 5 or 6 other classes, and so I said yes. I figured they’d come and do some work, chat, maybe even turn on some music on my classroom stereo.
I was sitting in my office slowly working through the pile on my desk, and I began to realize that I was hearing them read a script. After they finished, they engaged in a sensitive, thoughtful, and thorough critique about what they’d read, and where it could go. No voices got raised, nobody’s feelings got hurt. They just talked about the script.
Which, it turns out, one of them had written.
It takes guts to put yourself out there, but with this group it is obviously safe to do that. They showed independence, self-motivation, creativity, and kindness. They talked through issues in the story, and found their way through them, solving little plot problems here and there. They worked as a team.
This is not just about drama. The skills employed by these students are the kinds of skills being sought by business leaders, college admissions officers, and society at large, which seems to be losing the civility these young people showed one another. This arts thing is no frill – this is central to everything we are trying to do.
I was so impressed I emailed Sha Riordan, the teacher who was out sick, and copied the principal and assistant principals. What a great group of students!
And what a way to be reminded why I went into this business in the first place.