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Friday, April 15, 2011

Drama Class

Saved by the bell – this is what literally what came to my rescue, yesterday, when I was teaching at the local high school… Again, it was a day from hell – the dreaded Thursday I experienced 2 weeks ago, was experienced once again yesterday.

I’ll start from the beginning of our week: Wednesday. This was the most amazing day. Really, I couldn’t believe how well these particular classes at the high school went. I always have 3 of the best classes on this particular day; their English level is high, they’re interested in my lessons and are so willing to participate in whatever lesson I’ve prepared. I’m not saying they’re angels… but compared to the classes I teach on a Thursday, my Wednesday classes actually are.

This week, I decided to prepare a class on a topic I’ve wanted to teach, ever since I was in India working in the boarding school. I wanted to give a Drama class.

Now… I’m no drama teacher, I don’t know all that much about acting, but I know that I can incorporate teaching English with a drama class. How? By giving the students the chance to study some lines from a script I’ve written beforehand. I then let them have a few minutes to act out a short scene in class. It’s a great lesson that gets the class talking and active and it’s also great for me to actually put into practise the theory of a drama class that has been rattling around my brain, ever since I started teaching.

I prepared the lesson on Wednesday morning. It took only an hour and I was so excited to see if I’d get any kind of a response. I thought maybe I was putting too much effort and time into the lesson and maybe I was pressurizing myself too much into giving the best prepared classes and hoping too much to achieve as much as possible when teaching students who aren’t used to having such ‘creative’ lessons and who are often ‘frightened’ by the way I persuade and encourage the students to come out of their comfort zone and their ‘shells’ that consists of text books and drilled academic knowledge.

So… Wednesday: off I went to high school. I was really excited and interested to see if this lesson was going to work. I wanted to see how I could bring these kids to life. And, boy oh boy… I don’t know what happened, but the classes I taught, were absolutely brilliant. It wasn’t so much the actual acting that the kids were able to do, but it was more what the DRAMA CLASS itself did to me. I was on fire! Man, I can’t explain it... At the start of the lesson I was the actress. I was giving examples by switching from one role to another. I was getting so much energy from what I was teaching, even though I’ve never really done any kind of acting before in my life (except for a course of 6 lessons, 5 years ago). It was a crazy experience and I didn’t want to classes to end! I had these kids ‘eating out of my hands!’ I’ve never seen a group of 60 kids together to be so engaged in what I was teaching…

And when it came to the kids doing the acting, it was even more fun. After every class, the class teachers came up to thank me for putting in so much effort. School was ‘out’ and I was still on buzzing with excitement and couldn’t believe how much I loved teaching this particular topic… drama class… Something happened to me, personally, when I was able to be the actor ‘on stage’ in front of 60 Chinese students. I can’t pinpoint what it was…

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