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Sept. 4, 2019

2.02 A Conversation with Sam Rosenfeld, Shannon Doering, Dan Esquivel, and Hannah Spohnholtz

2.02 A Conversation with Sam Rosenfeld, Shannon Doering, Dan Esquivel, and Hannah Spohnholtz

This week Jimmy chats with four of his former students who have completed their first year of teaching. They share their successes and challenges, lessons learned, and pearls of wisdom for student teachers and first year teachers!  Additionally, a new segment checking in with student teachers in the field, Kelli Lawrence and Emma Harmon share their reflections on student teaching so far!


This Episode’s Recommended Resources:

Other teachers (not just theatre teachers)

Observation feedback

Online Classrooms (Google Classrooms, Microsoft, etc.)

Transcript

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Welcome back. This is season two, episode two of THED Talks. I'm Dr. Jimmy Chrismon a theatre education professor at Illinois State University. Welcome to THED Talks. This is the podcast for theatre teachers and theatre education students. Each week, I bring you stories and interviews from experienced K-12 theatre teachers, current theatre education majors and professors in education. Hopefully to warm your heart, renew your faith and teaching and to definitely provide you resources to better your practice in your theatre classrooms. Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate everyone tuning in each week and checking out the interviews and stories that I'm , I'm bringing you. Hopefully you're getting something out of them. I have truly enjoyed , um , spending my summer interviewing quite a few people and I'm excited to finally bring those to you now. Last week we heard from Tony Award winner Marilyn McCormick about her long career theme teaching theatre in Detroit, Michigan. And this week I'm excited to bring you a really special interview for me. It is four of my former students from Illinois State , um, that are finishing up their first year of teaching. I caught them at the end of actually some of their final work days , uh, before they began their first summer break as professional teachers. And , uh, I asked them to reflect back on their experiences for that year , what student teachers can plan to experience during student teaching and also the first year teachers, what to expect and , um, lots of pearls of wisdom from them. So I am excited to , to share this interview with you and , uh, hopefully you will , uh , enjoy it. They are, they were very excited to see each other cause some of them have not seen each other for a good year, year and a half even. And uh, so they were excited to talk and sometimes they were talking over one another, but I don't think that takes away from the , uh, the , the information they're providing and , uh , the really rich experiences that they had. So I hope you enjoy my interview with Sam Rosenfeld, Shannon Doering, Dan Esquivel and Hannah Spohnholtz. Well, I have sitting in front of me four amazing young teachers. They have just finished their first full year of teaching in the field. Um, I have Hannah, I have Dan, I have Shannon, and I have Sam. Um, if you all will, I'm going to just kind of go down the row, just introduce yourself, briefly, kind of tell us a little bit about where you teach, where you taught , um, and a little bit about your programs individually. And , uh, maybe just a touch of like the spark notes version of your journey to where we are right now. All right. We'll start with Hannah . Let's start with Sam. Okay.

SAM ROSENFELD:

So , uh, I am teaching at Niles North and Niles West high school. Um, and I actually went to Niles North as a student. I did my student teaching at Niles West , so it feels very much like home in a lot of ways, which is really , cool , Being a traveling teacher is crazy though. Um, and like going back and forth one or sometimes two times a day , um, between schools is a lot. Um, but it is such a pleasure to be back , um , in a place that really does feel like home.

SHANNON DOERING:

So, I guess for those listening, my name is Shannon Doering. I just finished my first year teaching at Warren Township High School up in Gurnee, Illinois. So if you've ever been to Six flags, I'm right there. I can see the roller coasters from the parking lot. Um , I student taught actually at Warren Township , um, at the Alman campus. So actually similar to Sam, we have two schools as well. Um , a freshman , sophomore campus and a junior, senior campus. And I just spent the last year actually teaching English to freshmen and sophomores at the O Plain campus, but then would travel after school for theatre like almost every day. So again, very used to traveling back and forth once, sometimes twice or more times a day.

SAM ROSENFELD:

It was Kinda nice though cause it gives you like 10 minutes or you can't answer emails or like very true in your car.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah. So just finished up a year of teaching English, but again directed and participated in lots and lots of uh , afterschool theatre.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Uh , I am Daniel Esquivel. Um, I teach up at Lakes Community high school, which is actually where I also did my student teaching. Um, so through all of my, like end of the year reviews and everything, everybody always says like, you're, you're a first year teacher. Well, I mean kind of. Well, yeah, I mean actually, I mean sort of so you know, first year and kind of, so I teach up at Lakes Community high school, I just, I just finished up my first year, we do , um, two kind of main stages and then well we do two main stages, three off main stages. And then like the student produced off off main stages, which is sort of how I'm dividing it up for my own sense to make sense of it. Um, yeah, up in Lake Villa , which is like 10 minutes from Six Flags, so I can't see it from my, yeah. From the parking lot, but I pass by it every day . All right .

HANNAH S.:

Oh , I'm Hannah. Hey. Um , and so I am not by Six Flags. Um , I student taught at Glenbard East High School , which is in Lombard. And then I ended up getting a very last minute job, which was very great blessing. Um, uh, at Morton East High School in Cicero, Illinois, and I cannot see Six Flags. Um , but I can see the skyline as I drive into work. Um, so that's exciting. Uh, and we've got two main stages. I'm the only theatre teacher there. It's a one woman show. Um, my auditorium seats 2,500 people and it's a national historic landmark. So needless to say, I wear many hats. I'm also the auditorium manager and yeah, so it's, it's been, it's been fun for sure.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, I have lots of questions for all of you, but I want to , uh, kind of guide the discussion for , um, kind of what first year teachers need to expect , um, as well as what student teachers , um , should be looking forward to and not necessarily looking forward to, but expecting as they enter their student teaching experience. Um , but first of all, tell me what you loved about your first year of teaching.

SHANNON DOERING:

Cheesiest answer, but absolutely always will be the students without a doubt. They are the best. They, I mean, when you just start from the beginning of the year and then what, just watched them grow even like half a year. oh my God. There's just nothing like getting there. They're just the best.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I was also super surprised of how welcoming they were. Like especially coming into two programs that have really amazing established theatre teachers who are still here with me. Um, how welcoming they were and how excited they were to have a fresh face and to have new opinions in the room. Um, that was really cool. And I was Kinda surprised and taken back by that, by how open and receptive they were.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Yeah. I mean it was, it was , um, it was really, really great. I really, really loved coming into a new school. Um, one of the things that I liked the most about it was that I got the chance to student teach. So they kind of got like , um, like , uh , a teaser platter , like an appetizer to see what it was like, and what I would teach like , um, and now they, you know, now they're stuck with me. Um, and they really, they really responded well to it. They were really, really supportive and, and receptive to what I was offering and what I was, was what I was giving them. And , um, you know, my favorite part is absolutely the students, but one of my, like, my, like the part that always makes me smile or laugh is when I hear them repeating my phrases back to me. Um , like I spend a lot of time making sure that , uh, they know that the past tense of cast is cast and not casted. Um , so when they start to correct each other on the past tense of cast and holding each other responsible for that, that just, I don't know , it , it makes me laugh every time.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I use the phrase in a minute, but not yet a lot. And they started to say to each other and I'm like, Oh yeah. It was a camp thing. Yeah.

HANNAH S.:

I like that. My community was really great. Um, the students took a while to kind of warm up to me because I was this white lady busting into their school and they were not really used to seeing a young little white girl running around. Um, but as I said, it's growing pains and now like the kids are using my term, they're like, oh, it's growing pains. We're going to get there. And I'm like, you're right. Yes.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well what, what have, what did you find was the most challenging part of your year ?

HANNAH S.:

Being a white lady running around.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well now, how'd you handle that?

HANNAH S.:

I think I'm still handling it. I mean like it's one of those things that like I've had to win their trust and it's taken some time to like get them to engage in conversations and find that balance. But a lot of the girls are very excited because I'm the first female director that they've had in a long time. Seven out of seven directors in the past 10 years. They've seen a lot of directors. Oh yeah. Yeah. So that's why like the kids were kind of like,

SHANNON DOERING:

trust has to be huge .

HANNAH S.:

It's taken a long time, but now I've gotten , uh , a couple of the kids are starting to come around and , um, we're, we're addressing every issue that comes up. We're, we're handling it we're walking the steady walk you've had social media off. Like I had a student threatened me on social media who ended up getting suspended and we had to, you know , work through that as a whole department. And by whole department me , um, with the administration and the deans, like deans were really great in handling that situation and they're just swamped. So yeah, it's always one of those things we're working on it, it's growing pains.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think the hardest thing for me has just been like, like time, not like necessarily managing my time, but just a general lack of time. Yeah. Cause I'm like, it would be really easy to just be a classroom theatre teacher or really easy to just be an afterschool theatre teacher, but like to do both at the same time is like where is my head? Or where in my brain, like.

SHANNON DOERING:

where are my keys?

SAM ROSENFELD:

Where. Right. And we were just like, like, where is everything? And so just like trying to make time to mentally lesson plan and to just be ready for the next day after, you know, you're going into tech is really is really stressful. Um, but I like feel really lucky to have a really great support system of like other teachers who are there with me doing the same thing. Um, but yeah, that's tricky. It's tricky.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. I think , um, like, and going into the next year whenever anybody asks like, Oh my God, how was your first year? It's like, it was really great. I had a lot of fun. I'm really, really proud of my kids. I can't wait to try again next year. Um , and one of the main things is, is, you know, I went in with a plan , I went in with unit plans, lesson plans, and all these different plans. And like not only did I have to be flexible, but like I would start teaching something and all of it would suck . And so I'm like, okay , cool. We're gonna not do this anymore.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I Taught it . I tried to all special ed drama class for a semester and it was like, you walk in with plan a, Plan B, Plan C, and you end up doing plan z. You know, it's like, like you can plan as much as you want to in some regards, but like at the end of the day, sometimes, and even in your Gen ed classes, like it all sometimes just goes out the window.

SHANNON DOERING:

I think the most challenging thing was just to realize that there will probably always be something that I don't know and that is fine. Yeah. Literally, always. Um, and it's not my fault for not knowing everything all the time.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I feel like the kids respect you when you own it. Like when you're. like, I really agree. Don't know this. I said , let's figure it out together. They're like, yeah , cool.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah, I do that. And then there are moments where I'm like, look guys, I make mistakes and I'm going to make a lot of them. And then on that particular day, a student was like , uh , while we're on the subject of your mistakes, the date is wrong. but it was like not disrespectful at all. You know, it was just like, yeah, we, you're like, yeah, you Molly . Yeah . I mean like go about fixing mistakes and growing from them. Yeah. I mean it's, it's very easy to say that. And I mean it's still something I struggle with. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Oh God . I'm always like, I should , I should know more. I should be doing more. And I'm like, God knows I'm doing a lot already. Like I can just take it easy.

HANNAH S.:

I feel you. I feel you. So hardcore. Like you said it and I was like, dad is, it is definitely,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

There's just like this need to be like as a first year teacher to be like, oh, I've got everything. It's fine. It's fine, it's fine. But yeah , cause you're trying to step into the shoes. I mean, like, you know, I'm a first year teacher, I graduated college from Maine Setting into my first job and the previous teacher was , um, a six year veteran teacher at this school with her masters . And I feel the need for not only myself, from the students and, and you know, from the community to, to live up to that standard , um, of, you know, six year veteran and, and a Masters . But , uh , I'd want to, I, I, I, I feel bad every time I taught the kids like, Oh, I dunno . Or like I do something and they're like, you know, that's not actually how we do it. That's not how the , like the last teacher did it . It's like, well,

SAM ROSENFELD:

well we're doing [inaudible] or we're doing something different. Yeah. Okay . Yeah.

SHANNON DOERING:

That is hard. Yeah . Like we were warned about that. I mean, I can hear Cyndee Brown in my head right now telling us that

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Cyndee Brown saying , ah , I wish I could go back and apologize to the first 5 years of teaching. Yes. When it told me so every day . Yes .

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Yes. My, my , uh, my university supervisor during my Undergrad, his, he always said, if you get through your first year and you can find the bathroom, you've done it well. Yeah. You sure you've done well the second year it gets a little bit easier and you add a little bit more that you've learned and that you grown. And then by that third year, that's when it really gets fun. Not that the first and second year weren't fun, but you feel like you have your feet underneath you and then you're standing on strong legs and okay, I got this. So , um, you're right where you're supposed to be. You know, you're , you're doing what you're supposed to and, and I think that's important for, for any new teacher, but especially with what we're going what you all are in , in what , what I'm training people to go into and what I did for 17 years is that there's a lot to what we're doing and there is no way you're going to know everything on that day one when you walk into the class, there's just no way. Um, which is something I, this past year my freshman group, they wanted it to be ready for student teaching by the end of the freshman year . And I'm like, guys, there's a reason you have three more years. There's a reason you have three more years. It's a process

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

I don't mean to to laugh so hard, but I need to laugh so hard.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

It's true.

SAM ROSENFELD:

It's like I felt the same way. It's yet .

SHANNON DOERING:

I was not. I was like, I knew, I was like, there's no way I'm ready for this,

SAM ROSENFELD:

but I felt the need to be.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

like, yeah, my first year I'm like, okay, I gotta go. I already did my first 385 Project. I was like, it's like a deck manager. And I'm like, I gotta I gotta teach the kids. And like ,

SHANNON DOERING:

I definitely was just like, I need more experience.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Yeah. I was like horrifying combination of both. Like I need more experience, but I need it right now.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah. I think definitely , uh , by, I'd say once we did our own 385 projects, I was like, I'm ready to student teach. Yeah. Also to those 185ers. Oh yes. Some of y'all are not even going to be in this major by the time we get to the end.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

There were three of us. Okay. Yeah . Five of US surviving five. Yeah.

SHANNON DOERING:

I think we all survived. Yeah.

SAM ROSENFELD:

Some of US started with like 15 people my year and then it ,

JIMMY CHRISMON:

well, we're working on that, we're working on that . Um, the not only retention but, but just being very honest with them from the beginning on day one, I, I , I've gotten very comfortable telling them on the day, one of every semester, if you realize this is not for you, that's okay . Right ? Yes . Because I don't want you here then. Yeah. Because you don't need to be in front of students. You don't need that responsibility. This is not where your heart is.

SAM ROSENFELD:

Right. Yeah. And I think there's a really big pressure for a lot of , of high school seniors who want to go into theatre to go into theatre education because their parents think it's the base. It's great. Yeah . It's a, it's a backup plan or it's safer. Which though.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

like I went into theatre education as a backup plan because my parents are like, oh, you want to be an actor? Good luck.Do Theatre Education as well. And after my first semester at theatre education, I'm like, okay, cool. Maybe not acting. Maybe theatre education is what I want to go. Yeah. So like if it was your backup plan, awesome. Cool, great. Make sure that it, now it's your, it's your turn. Want number one. Yeah, for sure.

HANNAH S.:

And can kind of taste it. Getting to that senior year you're on that THED acting track. I mean, when you have to make that decision between, and you know, students , like I was student teaching, I was in five years, so I had choose and like I'm going to be student teaching. I cannot audition for showcase.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

I auditioned for showcase. I was in showcase. I went to every rehearsal for showcase and I could not make it to the actual show because I had an interview for teaching job and I ended up getting,

HANNAH S.:

it's one of those things, it's like it gets down to the wire and you're like, which one? Yeah, yeah.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, I , I've also gotten very comfortable with telling them that there are things I can't teach you. Yeah . Um, that, that they're just different experiences that are gonna happen that I have not experienced that there's just not a book about. Um, so what are, what are some of those things that you've experienced this year that there is no way Cindee Brown could have taught you or I could have taught you.

SHANNON DOERING:

I'm raising my hand.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

She did. She raised her hand.

SHANNON DOERING:

Sorry. I threw my hand up right away. Um , because Warren went through a lot of contract negotiations this year. Yeah. Nothing. Literally nothing prepares you for that. I think maybe I read about it in a chapter of a book and then we were, we were in the middle of it all and yeah, it's not one of those things where like you just have to be ready for anything. Like be a part of the union, not to get political but seriously be a part of your union. Yeah. Because Oh my God, those teachers have your back. Yeah . If you've got their back, they have your back and I am forever grateful for the teachers. I'm like gonna cry

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

And get involved in the Indian to like go, go to the meetings. Don't mean just bring your laptop.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yup .

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think like for me some of the moments that like stood out to me, he's like, oh, didn't learn. That was like any , just the chaos of like we were in our musical this year. Uh, and we had three kids who were vomiting offstage . A girl who was , on crew who had to be taken out in a stretcher during act two of our final show cause she like could not move backstage just like everyone was sick. And it was just like the chaos of like dealing with those things like literally in the middle of a show while we have an audience. Um, you know, and also then dealing with like the paperwork and all that stuff in the back end of like, yeah, that's not, that's not something you can learn in a classroom of like how to deal with that all at one time.

HANNAH S.:

And as, as much as we were taught about, you know, the carrot, the dangling carrot,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Oh, God, the dangling rope.

HANNAH S.:

The dangling rope that you're not like don't take it, but you hear that analogy and then the, you have to have the experience and then being like, oh, this is what it is. They will like the whole like,

SAM ROSENFELD:

Like when your students think

JIMMY CHRISMON:

I'm going to ask you to explain what that is because they're going to be people who don't know what that is. Cause I don't,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Sorry. It's from Teaching with Love and Logic. Okay. Yeah. Um,

HANNAH S.:

and you explained it better than me. It's more yours , one of those guys . Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fay and Funk yeah .

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Um, so dangling the rope is like where like a student will will say something to incite a reaction or say something in order to either start a fight or for you to like show your, your weakness or your cracks.

SHANNON DOERING:

or just get attention.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Yeah. I have to get attention. Validation . Okay . Yeah. So like , um, I remember, I remember in, God, I don't remember if I was in lab teaching or in, in 385 or something, but I remember there was one time when when I was dangling like a kid was dangling the rope and instead of reacting to the rope or anything, like I grabbed the rope and I just pulled as hard as they could because I wanted to show like I can handle this, I can go , I got this, don't, don't make nonsense in my classroom. Um, and it's not effective. It's not effective. Um, cause all you're gonna do is create, you know, it goes from like a level one disruption until like a level like 500 disruption , I need to pull the rope. Yeah. And then they'll pull even harder than you, so. Yep . Yeah .

SAM ROSENFELD:

Yeah. I think like in those situations, I think I found really helpful is like, like letting the, whatever it is happen, like letting it happen to other kids, see like they're not oblivious to it. And then like getting everyone to do what they need to do. And then like talking to that kid one on one to be like, what's like, what's the root of this? What's going on? Like yeah , where are you out ? Cause like a lot of the times, honestly I think they don't even realize they're dangling the rope a lot of the time it's like, oh, there's so much going on in their life too that like we have no perception of yeah . Until we ask them. And I think a lot of times if you , if they come in and I like, you know, their sister or their aunt or their cousin is sick, like that rope is really easy to dangle in the case. Um, and takes the attention off of them off of that. Yeah. For Them It's a distraction for them. Yeah. Um , and then to like break down that wall , I think a little bit with them is , is really helpful cause I think they then realize like, oh, it's also affecting other people and like there's a better, healthier way for me to handle my own emotions. In this scenario.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

We had a meeting , um , where we watched a video by Oprah Winfrey and of course it was Oprah Winfrey , um , where instead of asking like, what, what happened? Or like, why are you doing this? We ask what happened to you to make you do this? And it's not like a conversation that you have because they're like, hmm , what happened to you. But it's us being introspective and saying like,

SHANNON DOERING:

Oh, I think about that.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

and what's the root of this?

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah. I never like take a students disrespect and think like, oh my God, they just hate me. It's like, no , there's always, always something else. Like,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

and then you have that conversation.

SHANNON DOERING:

And my biggest rope dangler divorce parents, dad was coming in and out of her life constantly and really couldn't decide if he wanted to be a father figure o r not. she's 14.

SAM ROSENFELD:

Yeah, it's impossible to deal with at that age.

SHANNON DOERING:

No wonder you're irritated, I would be too.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think that's another thing to own too . Like some days, like, like we as teachers also have shitty days until walk into the classroom and say, hey guys, I'm not having the best day right now. This is where I'm at. I'm going to do the last thing . We're going to get through this. But like this is where I'm at emotionally. A lot of times I feel like they respond to that too and obviously like I can't be ever . Yeah , right. You know , so like , well like.

SHANNON DOERING:

it's funny you say that because literally one day I drove in to work and I was hit by another car and so my first period class I was a mess cause I was like, I told him like, I almost die today. It was like September. So they're just like this lady's crazy and then they were like, what? Tell us the whole, like by the end of it we were all just like, like, wide eyed and looking at each other like she's alive, hallelujah she's alive. She dodged death and the one we got. And thank you. Those are just some of the days you have sometimes

JIMMY CHRISMON:

I had a , um , I had a , we did a production, we did Wizard of Oz and my, my personal life was just kinda been turmoil and in shambles. And I , I, I am very guarded with my, with my, I was very guarded with my students as far as my personal life and what happened outside of the school building. And, and I try to keep a really strong face for them. I tried to keep things going as normal for them and being out as little as I could be. Um, and eventually, like the rumors started going backstage that , that I, that I didn't care anymore, that I was just letting the show fall apart and that my heart wasn't in it and eventually got to the , the second teacher that I hadn't, she was like , um, you need to kind of level with them a little bit, cause you're not doing that. You're actually doing three times more than you normally do to keep that from happening. And so I did, I , after rehearsal, we just had that simple conversation. I was like, guys, I , I've got a lot going on and this is probably like one of the worst times of my life right now. And you guys are kind of what are keeping me going. Um, so if you see things kind of not getting done, I need you to step up and help. And they were like done. We're there. And it was, it was good to go and, and, but yeah, sometimes you have to, you have to be a little vulnerable with them sometimes and you have to let them know, this is, I'm not right right now and I will be, but I just need you to know that just like we need to know that from them. If there's a bad day, if there's a crappy thing happened before they come in, I was always, if you let me know, I can work with you, but if you don't , I don't. There's nothing I can do. So , um, eventually kids started, they were like, oh, he, he means business. He's serious about that. So , um, it is, it's being vulnerable and , and you have bad days too and it's okay for them to know that sometimes. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. What , um, what's one of your, your favorite stories from your first year of teaching? It'd be a funny story. It could be a horror story. It could be something that impacted you.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think the most, the most impactful thing that happened to me this year as a teacher. I was actually, we were talking about this before we started recording. Um, but we do this performance in one of my basic theatre classes, we do a unit on, on body work and we talk about pantomime and physicality and then they have to perform , um, a one minute pantomime piece that is in some way true about their life or like emotionally connected to them to a song that they choose and they can do it a partnership, they can do it solo. And I had two students , um, who are both Muslim, perform a piece about how the after effects of 9/11 affected their parents and their families. And it was like one of the most powerful performances that I've ever emotionally witnessed . Um, and I like completely lost it in class. Like I was sobbing , um, and they finished their performance. That was really beautiful. And it ended in like this beautiful moment of like, them as themselves had transformed from their parents to themselves and they were at like a protest, basically like advocating for their own rights. Um, I'm gonna cry about it if I talk about it, but , um, it was like such a cool moment for the whole class , um, to like in our post discussion about their performance, like to talk about , um, identity and like how I was like very open about it, about like how me as a Jewish teacher that like also touched me specifically. Um, and like, it was a cool, like, very intersectional moment in the classroom. Um, and to see that come out of their work from an art form was like , uh , like you can't ask for more than that. That was really cool.

HANNAH S.:

Um, I would say if we're going on performances. So the, the play that we did , um, was Our Town, like Thornton Wilder and I had little like spark plug moment and we did a a pre show of, we edited Ed Sheeran's um, song about the, Oh my God, that hilll and I'm forgetting yeah. Castle on the Hill. So we changed it to Cartwright's on the Hill. Because Cartwright's live on the hill. And so we like I sat down with a bunch of students and we went through that song and like how much they knew the story and like where I knew like I let them kind of like edit it and they were like, well we'll work with this. And I'm like, I don't know, why don't you guys look at a look at the end of act one like , so watching them put those puzzle pieces together and the fact that even though I had the idea, I kind of gave it to them and I said, okay, do it. And like they were able to put all those puzzle pieces together and then watching that unfold and then having back is one of the pieces in the performance. It was so cool.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Um, I had , uh , I had a student who , uh, last year, the theatre teacher , um, he was , he was, he was butting heads with the student a lot. Um, and this one kind of went through some stuff and , and at the end of the year, he shut down and , um , he's on the autism spectrum. So he , uh, you know, he, he responds in certain ways to certain things and , um, uh, just like everything that was happening, the only reaction that he could have was to shut down. And so this year he was planning on moving up to the advanced class instead of like the intermediate class. And , um, I didn't have any experience with him. I didn't really get a chance to work with him last year. But he , um, the, the other theatre teacher and I, and the parents sat down and it was the, like the other theatre teacher wanted him to take the intermediate course again because he didn't have a good end of the year. Um, and he wanted to see, you know, how, what improvements could be made. Um, and the , the , the teacher has really said that like, he hates school. He, he does not want to come back any day. He, he can't stand it. But the theatre class is the one class that like makes him want to come back. Um, so we ended up putting him in the advanced production and like I kept sitting down with the parents and I kept communicating with the parents, asking them like, what can I do to make this process better? What can I do to make the communication better to make sure that he doesn't even get an opportunity to shut down because we're never getting that bad. Um, and he like the kid and I established a really, really great relationship and um, he, there's an advanced production that the students do every year and he did an audition for the fall play and he did an audition for the musical, but he was , had to be in the advanced production. And then after the advanced production, the parents came up to me and they said like, listen the work he did was incredible. This is like the most involved we've ever seen him in the department and this is the most involved that we've ever seen him in a show. And it's something that they witnessed and also that he witnessed. And he came up to them and said that like afterwards that he was considering a career in theatre, how he wanted to be a theatre teacher because of his experience with this. And from there it only kept improving and kept improving. We have something called 20% projects, which is where they have 20% of their time throughout the year to do an independent project of whatever they want to do. So he decided, yeah, I love it. The kids are really, really responsive to it and they do awesome, awesome work. And so he decided that he was gonna write a play , um , with his 20% projects and he spent , uh, all year writing this play called the pizza man, which was a , um, sort of an , uh, a parody of 1980s slasher films. But of this pizza man who was mad because he did not get a tip. So he decided to, to , uh , chase A la, scream , um, all these people throughout their house and like we read it together as a class and I go one of the last days of school and it was one of the funniest things I've ever read. Um, and just like seeing him so proud of it and seeing all of his, like classmates who are just his classmates who became his really, really good friends, lift him up and support him and say like, listen, if next year for your 20% project, you do this as a full on show. Like, I want audition for this role, I want audition for this role . I want to be a part of it. No matter what way it is. So seeing somebody who felt unincluded in theatre , um, to be included in theatre and then to be lifted up anjd like highlighted in theatre is one of my absolute favorite stories. And like it, like, like we said, my favorite part about teaching is the students. And, and not only seeing him succeed, but seeing all of his peers rally around him so much was just amazing.

SHANNON DOERING:

Oh my gosh, there are so many like small moments. I think that really just make it for me. Like I don't think there's ever like one big thing that I'm like, this was it. Like , right . You know, but it's just little things. Um, similar to what Hannah said, where, you know, I am a costume designer, but like I'm not the costume designer. The kids are the costume designers. I am the one who just makes sure that we don't spend all of our money, you know, like a nail do our hand, right. The designs that they come up with , um , to watch them teach each other how to use a sewing machine. It just all , it's just all those little things that stick with me. Even in my English classroom, kids, just kids who don't want to read aloud, but by the end of the year raising their hand to participate. Right. Um , kids who swore on their life that even though they'd never read Shakespeare, they were going to hate it anyway. Um, raising their hand and participating and grabbing a foam sword and fighting with me at the front of the room. Yes . It's, it's those things. Yeah . Yeah. All the little things just add up to being great things. Yeah,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

man, I love teaching.

SHANNON DOERING:

Right? It's Great.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

AW,, well, what , um, what do you see as the greatest need in your students right now and how can we as theatre teachers help them?

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think we're struggling. Like my kids, I feel like, at least in my programs are like really good at like identifying like emotions and communicating emotions, which is like amazing, but they're lacking some of like the really basic fundamental theatre stuff about like building a character and pretending , um, and like getting in the head space of play. So it's like they can like emote and like show that they are sad or like show that they are happy, but like they can't get in the head space of like, okay, now we're actually going to play and like, it's okay if we're wrong. Like I think the fear of failure is so big that like Improv terrifies them. Yeah. Um, and they like, like they need the , they're like, I need a paper in my hand. I need words on a page to like be able to do anything. Um, and so like, I'm slowly like peeling that bandaid off with them and it's, it's painstaking.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

It's a lot of the times I, I attribute it back to like this constant need for approval. Um, and like I'm, I'm, you know, I'm one to talk, I always say that I don't like to do things I'm not good at, but like, that's, that's what my students do is they don't like to do things they're not good at. They don't like to, they don't like to fail. Even if it's at the very first step they take, they do not like to fail. And with Improv , um, they always went back to what was comfortable still . Like we, when we did our Improv unit, every scene would stand up and say, I can't believe you. Like I can't believe you stole my boyfriend. It's like, OK cool, We've done the scene 10 times today. What else can we do? Um, cause that constant need of approval of like, like I'm afraid to fail. I don't want to play because I'm going to look stupid. We did Laban work and, and the kids on paper loved it. They , they loved putting together like, ah , it's going to be, you know, heavy and sustained indirect. Oh , that's so cool. Awesome. And then when got up and tried to experiment it, they would just like walk around floating the entire time and be like, okay, cool. Break out of a circle if you're walking in a circle. And then we keep walking in this circle, break out of float. If you're going to do float and keep floating, it's like they only go to what's comfortable. And so that's something that's,

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think a lot of that also stems from like the way that the like larger educational system is set up in terms of like in their math classes and in their English classes. They're very like driven by points. And I think like they're like when we get to like Improv and stuff like that where it's not as project based they're like, okay, how are we going to be graded on this? And I show them the rubric and they're like, okay well like this doesn't really like, like I , I don't know how like to make those things happen necessarily. And like it, it's like, well we use the skills that we're learning. Like we use our pantomime skills, we use our vocalizations goes in the [inaudible] .

HANNAH S.:

Uh, I actually do. So I, this is something I stole from my, My, the person I student taught with my mentor, Mark Kaetzer at Glenbard East . Um, and for his Improv unit, he does this and it's so, it's so awesome. It's one of my favorite things cause it involves actually what Sam you were just talking about is like developing a character. So I call it the stalk, I call it the stalking project. Um,

SAM ROSENFELD:

the what?

HANNAH S.:

The stalking project , sorry, Chicago came out there for a second. Stocking. Um , no , uh, the stalking project and they have to watch , um, somebody that they did

SAM ROSENFELD:

I do this too. I don't, I tell them it's , it's our not stalking project .

HANNAH S.:

I call it the stalking project and I'm like don't actually stalk someone.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah, I was thinking stocking like tights and I was like are they making puppets?

HANNAH S.:

But no, but then the , the assessment is two part. Then the first part is um, they've developed this character and then we take them on a trip to a mall, the mall. So it's like guided meditation meets exploration and so they have to, and so like I kind of walk them through and then hand them different conflicts. And so then I kind of serve, it goes to teacher in role. So then I get to go and I get to play and I have a lot of fun too because I get to be like the bus breaks down and everyone has to stay on the bus. And then someone has a gun, cause someone always has a gun and you're like, nope, nope, sorry. And then you'd be the police officer and you've have to arrest someone and then they have to go sit in the corner and you're like, just so you know, your grade got lowered because you just pulled out a gun for no reason. Cause it's not motivated by your character because I know your character. Um , but then it goes full circle and then eventually it turns into the second part of it is an improvise monologue. So then they, as their character have to go up on stage alone by themselves and exhibit their, walk their talk. That's where the bigger half of the grade is, but then they have this crazy story to talk about of going to the mall and some lady puked on me and it was crazy. Um, but then it makes them actually, you know, engage in, it's not necessarily free form play, but engage in true improvisation because they literally have nothing else and they have to pantomime talking on the phone and they have to pantomime writing in a journal whenever somebody ready to buy their character. That's totally Mark Kaetzer. But I was like, yes, I will take this with me forever.

SHANNON DOERING:

I think my students really struggle the most with leaving What's not about the class outside, They, it's like I f I can just tell. Some days kids walk in and I'm like going on a trip because look at all that baggage. Like you gotta just leave it outside. Like, yeah, I get that That's something that's going on in your life, but I'll guarantee you it's not going to help you read this book today. It's just gonna take your mind off that they , you know, and if anything, it's like, I, I tell my students this all the time, I'm like, if you come in and you're willing to let that stuff sit outside, you now have 46 minutes You don't have to think about it, it's probably gonna feel really good. Um, yeah,

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think it's also hard to like, cause I do a lot of work with bringing in your baggage and like , yeah . Okay. Like what would that project take without talking about too ? Yeah. Um, but like even in my English class, like we did a lot of work with, like when we were talking, when we were doing Raisin in the Sun, we did a lot of work with identity obviously. And so I was asking them about their stories of, of their identity and we're talking about those pretty openly in class and like it's hard to leave that baggage outside when you bring it in.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

But, you're giving them a specific space to use that baggage. Right ? Yeah . Like when you're doing like Laban work, you don't need that baggage. You get to be somebody completely different.

SHANNON DOERING:

There are moments like all the time, like that's something I do all the time is let's connect to the story. I connect to the character like in their annotations. That's something I push a lot.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think one of the things I struggle with then is like how do I break it apart so that one day they know like, yes, bring your baggage today. But then the next day they're like, okay, no, check it at the door.

SHANNON DOERING:

It's Kinda like you bring it every day, but you just have to, and I think part of growing up, right? You have to be able to manage it. You need to know when it's appropriate to talk about that stuff and when it is just not appropriate.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I think it's hard too because all my classes , um, are all grade levels. So all my classes, all my theatre classes are freshmen through seniors until where we get that arc of development sometimes is really tricky because you see the freshmen, like sometimes latch onto the seniors and sometimes it goes the opposite way, which is really dangerous.

HANNAH S.:

I mean I think to build off of what Shannon was saying. It's just like social anxiety with like, I had this cr , like the student who she had an IEP but would just literally like I went to her IEP meeting and her mom like had a conversation with her mother and we all got to sit down and just talk about her. And we figured out that she was hiding in the bathroom every single day. She came to school in her uniform, went to the bathroom and didn't go to any of her classes. Jeez . And it's like, it , it's, and like the fact that nobody found out about this until like almost the end of the school year. And I'm sitting there, I'm like, you know, I'm trying to engage with like, she doesn't speak, she speaks English. But in terms of reading and speaking in Spanish , um, most of my population is Hispanic and they like, she, like if she had come to class, I could have talked to her about it, but she didn't come to class. Yeah . And she was so afraid. And then it turned in and then it turned into just an attitude and she became aggressive. So then it turned it, it just kept like the social anxiety, the fact that so many of these kids have it, like they just shut down and just,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

and it comes back to that conversation about what happened to cause this reaction.

SAM ROSENFELD:

Well, and I noticed a lot of kids snowball . So like if they miss one assignment, yeah . Then they're like, oh, well then I have to spend this time making up this assignment in this class. And this time making up this assignment in this class. They're just like, snowballs out of control for them. And then they're like, they've got, you know, six weeks of work to make up all of a sudden. Um, and that happens a lot with students who are out on medical leave or students who are like out for any of those kind of stuff. Like it really messes up their grades and.

SHANNON DOERING:

yeah. And it's hard because it's like as a teacher you want them to succeed, right. But at the same time, you can't check the bathroom everyday to see who's hiding out. Right ? Like you can prepare as much as you want for those kids to be gone. And get them to work. But you can't force them to do it. Yeah . You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them turn in their late assignments.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Is that how that goes?

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah. That is the Official expression.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

What? Um, cause Dan talked to my 185 class this semester , um, cause they were having this epic meltdown around January, February about not being ready for student teaching and they didn't feel they were ready. And that's where I was like, of course you're noS. You shouldn't , shouldn't be. Right . So I had Dan, he skyped in and talked with the class and , and really laid it out for them that, you know, this is going to be hard guys and you're not ready to absorb everything you can. Um, cause when you're there it's overwhelming. It's a lot. It's the hardest you've ever worked. But he also said, but then it's the most rewarding thing. So talk to me a little bit about your student teaching experiences. I , I got to observe all four of you at some point. Um, my first year ISU. Um, so what was that like and what can upcoming student teachers expect?

SAM ROSENFELD:

I loved student teaching. I thought it was like, for me, it was such a cool opportunity. I had an amazing, amazing cooperating teacher. Who I now have as a colleague, which is great. Um, but , uh, it was really amazing because , um, he let me run and he let me try things and he let me fail. Um, which was like such an amazing opportunity and I always felt supported , um, by him. So like in terms of all of the classroom stuff, I felt like student teaching was just like, oh , let's throw paint at the wall and see if it works. And , um, I felt really supported by the students in that, and I felt really supported by my cooperating teacher and the experimentation of that. Um, the thing that sucked was edtpa. Ah , I, it's actually like newsflash. Um, I failed edtpa the first time , um, because I included student work , um, and students self, self grading in the process of student reflection. Yeah. Um, and that is apparently something that you can't do.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

So let , let's , let's fix that. You didn't fail it. They said, hey, fix this and resubmit.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I had to resubmit it. Um, but be kind to yourself. Yeah , no, no, no, absolutely. But you had to go and like it's and that's like the BS crap that I hate is like, in my resubmission I didn't have to do anything except for take out the student work which was like come on . That's the part that matters.

SHANNON DOERING:

Like not to mention like come on people really you couldn't have figured this out without you having to spend another 90 dollars.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I literally didn't add in anything to it but it's like that's the part that drives me crazy about teaching is like those little things along the way that are like 99% of the time they have nothing to do with the kids. 99% of the time they don't have anything to do with your teaching and it's just like the check mark boxes that you have to hit to make the state or the administration or someone above you happy like that's the crap I can't deal with.

SHANNON DOERING:

I think it is really one thing to hear about it over and over again. It's o ne t hing to listen to people who are currently going through it and i t i s just a completely different thing for you to do it yourself. Yeah. And wherever you are is going to be different from the other people who are student teaching at the same time as you. U m,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

because no matter what we tell you, the kids are like [inaudible] school , the exact same cooperating teacher. The kids are going to be different. Yeah . Yeah.

SHANNON DOERING:

But I will say like, I also ended up working with a fabulous, I had two cooperating teachers, which was awesome. Jimmy's nodding his head. I think he remembers them. They were great people. Um, I had an English, I'll call them out by name cause they are awesome. Kim Posh, my English CT. She was awesome. Uh , Adam Miller, theatre CT and both of them, they're so different as people that I think I am their weird hybrid teacher baby. Yeah. They Were so, so different. And I think at that's what I appreciated the most about them. Like Adam is like no rules, like Lucy Goosey , right. If it works, it works. Whatever. And Kim is like, are you crazy? You need structure lines , you need order. Right. And she isn't. Right , right. She's like, mom, she had three boys. Like I think I remember one time Jimmy came in and they sat down to discuss my grade and she was like, is it going to take long? I have to go to soccer practice. Yeah. But they both, I guess the lesson I'm trying to take out all this is just be ready to take all the advice you can and just be in the moment and do it. It's going to be good and it's going to be hard. So just enjoy it.

SAM ROSENFELD:

But like, it all works out. Yeah . All the crazy like things that we have to deal with. And if you.

SHANNON DOERING:

Right, if you work hard and you know yourself and you know that you are true to your teaching and you're willing to be better, you'll be fine.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

it's like, it's the same thing that we are telling our kids. Don't be afraid to fail because like, oh , I also had an absolutely incredible a cooperating teacher and I would like to say Abra Chusid is amazing. Um, she taught me everything I know and she like, she helped me grow so much as an, as an artist, as a theatre educator, as a person. Um, yeah. And just like don't be afraid to fail and know that your cooperating teacher will be there to catch you. I can't tell you how many times I like I did something, I did some like stuff like now I'm looking back at , it's not that bad, but in the moment like, oh my God, I totally failed. And then she pulled me aside say, Hey, I'll fix this. Don't worry about it. Keep teaching. And it was great. It was awesome. I mean, you know, I didn't end up saving the world. I didn't end up, you know, destroying it either.

HANNAH S.:

I think that's the best way to put it. Like you're not going to destroy, like it's still this teacher's classroom, but at the same time, like they're giving you a window and an opportunity to go in, try something. It didn't work and that's okay. And they come in and they correct it and they kind of help you along. It's like a, like a three legged race. I'm just like, it's okay, go, go. It's a three it, it's like it's a three legged race. And like, I remember one time I asked you , I already mentioned Mark Kaetzer, he's a boss. Um, and I actually use him like when for the Improv unit, like he has a very specific way of walking and so then I like embody him and it's like such a great homage and like the kids are like, yeah, like you're this guy. And I'm like, Yup , that's Mark Kaetzer. Um, but I mean there was one day that like, he's like, if you ever just like can't do it. Like I was like, I didn't eat enough and I was like dizzy and I was like about to pass out. And I literally just looked at him and I said, hey Mark, you want to come down here for a second? And I'm like, you need to do this. And he literally just like walked in and taught the lesson and like I was able to step outside and like take a drink of water and be like, I need a snack. Yeah. I cheat .

SHANNON DOERING:

Now that you say that, I went through, I can't believe I even forgot that I went through health issues at the same time and there were definitely days where I was like, I'm going to like either pass out or throw up, and I will see you in a minute. And both of them were like, okay, then that's it. Everyone has their limits and like you really need to know when you need to stop and go and like it is really not okay to just like not eat, not drink water. Yeah . For the job. Right . It's like you did , the job's not going to happen without you and if you're not, yeah, you're not taking care of yourself. Right. Like that. That's something you learn. Right?

JIMMY CHRISMON:

So what did you learn about taking care of yourself during this semester that you have put into practice now and how do you take care of yourselves now? Because that's so important.

SHANNON DOERING:

We always pack a lunch because even if you think that you were like gonna like go buy at school, nothing happens whenever you have a lunch and you can eat. [inaudible] yeah , that's my advice. I always have a water bottle.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

I always have a water bottle, I have three in my classroom.

SHANNON DOERING:

I've got one now and I'm very boring.

SAM ROSENFELD:

One of the big things I realized this fall , I like got to direct this fall, which is awesome. Um, and like I loved that and I loved being around after school and I was working on every production this year after school. Um, but I started about like halfway through first semester I really realized that I was missing like performing. Um, and so I started doing Playback Theatre again in Chicago. Uh, and that just had rehearsals once a week and it was a really nice way. It started rehearsal started at seven, so like usually I only had to miss for tech. Um, cause our rehearsals ended at six. So that gave me like enough time to get down to the city. But finding like one thing that was like, this is not have to do a school, this is like my Creative theatre work that I'm doing outside of school that has nothing to do with my students was like so nice to have. Um, and I started that in January and that's been like , uh, you know, my personal savior Second semester was like having that thing that I just, this is mine. You know,

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

when I was student teaching I had this issue, I felt lonely all the time. I felt so lonely cause like, you know, I love my cooperating teacher, I love the other teacher. Um, at my school. Like now we're really, really good friends. But then I , I still felt like this isn't my place. This isn't my,

SHANNON DOERING:

yeah, I think I feel like that this year too.

SAM ROSENFELD:

I feel like that now because like , yeah , like I'm like, I miss sharing my class or my cooperating teacher's classroom and like,

SHANNON DOERING:

if I could co-teach forever, I think I could die happy. and then I'm working with other people.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

I missed like all my friends from college, cause you're , you know, you're , they're still at college having a lot of fun.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

You're plucked right out of it. Yeah, exactly right . Removed .

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

So , um, I just, I just felt really, really lonely. I mean, I never saw my family cause I was working a lot. I never saw, you know, my partner cause he was down in Normal. Um, and, and one of the pieces of advice that my cooperating teacher gave me is like, one, make plans. Don't ever let yourself sit at home because even like, unless you need a day off, unless you needed a day off, but don't ever, ever let yourself sit at home just because you're too lazy to go on and make plans because you're going to find yourself sacrificing everything in your life just for this school and you cannot let that happen. Um , and then she said , uh, buy tickets because it's a great way to trick yourself into having to go out and not being able to cancel, cancel plans because you already spent the money. Yeah. So I , um , making it an active effort to never spend, you know, never spent a weekend at home. Even if it's just like, like, you know, I spend like Friday at home, Sunday at home, at Saturday I go and get lunch with my mom. At least it's me getting out of the house and it's helped a lot with me not being so lonely, you know, I same way. I definitely miss my, my cooperating teacher. I missed her a lot More when I started teaching. Um,

SHANNON DOERING:

yeah. It has to be strange to all of a sudden not have her in that space anymore.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Yeah. It's, it's super strange and like I reference her a lot because the kids know her and I know her and like, you know, she was a huge mentor for me and I , I cannot, I cannot say that I, you know, I mean, all three of my mentors, I can't say that I wasn't here without each one of them was, was instrumental in who I am today. Um, but it's gotten a lot better. It's been, it's been easier to stave off that loneliness.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yeah. I , yeah . I think , um, the best piece of advice I've gotten, and I got it before, I think I even was officially Theatre Ed. Um, it was from the letters project from freshman year got it from my high school theatre teacher today, I think the best piece of advice I've ever gotten and it is, you need to have a life outside of the theatre. Yeah . Yeah. And I remember reading it and thinking like, okay, sure. Right . You okay. Also Jonathan Meyer , you the best, love you. But he was totally right and I think even now I think sometimes I'm straying from that and this summer is really about like take a break. Like go be with you with your family and just like go hiking and do stuff that it doesn't have to be about theatre or education all the time. Like that's okay and like you're going to be better for it. [inaudible]

SAM ROSENFELD:

yeah, I think a hobby for yourself. Like I love, like for me it's painting. Like, I lock myself in my room and I'll spend time like doing that. But it's like I need a hobby that's just mine that like I can't do with anyone else. Like so it's like, cause I love hiking too, but like I go hiking with my family and I'm like, oh my gosh. Just like also that's awesome. That's another kind of stress like in another way. But like if you have something that's like just yours, it's like, oh

SHANNON DOERING:

yeah. Like now I wake up every morning and I go for a run and I walk my dog. Right. It's great.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

I garden. I have an orchid and two African violets. Oh my God. I'm very excited about it . Yeah .

SHANNON DOERING:

Do you want to just edit The rest of us out? , Right . None of us are nearly as impressive, he's wearing a flower shirt. It's like, oh my God. [inaudible] noone can see it. [inaudible]

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

you want me to describe it in vivid detail?

JIMMY CHRISMON:

It's burned in my mind. I have two final questions for you cause I know I kept you waiting a while while I was stuck in traffic. But , um , um, I'll just go down the line. Um, what is, it's , it's my last few questions for every episode. What's, what's the resource that you can't live without that we need to know about? And then the final question is your parting words of wisdom for new teachers and student teachers,

SAM ROSENFELD:

other teachers , uh , their teachers. Um, and not just the ones in your department, but the ones outside of your department too. I think like I get really bubbled into like I'm in two theatre offices and that's like, those are the people who I talk to, but like branching out a little bit and without, it's hard because I at least sometimes you branch out of your office and things get gossipy and drama happens. But like making connections with a couple of other people who like are not in your content area and getting their feedback is like, oh , it's amazing. That's amazing.

SHANNON DOERING:

Yep. Second other teachers , best resource there is , um , they've been through it. They know what you're talking about. Um, and the best ones will give you stuff for you to use and to change it and make it whatever you need it to be. But here's a nice template. This is what I use. Keep using it or don't. Yeah. Other teachers .

SAM ROSENFELD:

And there's so much crossover too , like science teachers who give me stuff and I'm like, oh my God, how can I use this in a theatre? Like it's there , like it's fun

SHANNON DOERING:

I stole a DBQ rubric from Social Studies. I did that with a book and then some of those resources were taken from other English teachers and it's like, I dunno, I think like as a first year teacher that really is your best resource because you are not a computer and there's no way like you were going to generate an entire, like what I'm I taught, oh my gosh, at least five units. English one English two, right? You don't come up with that. No in one year. Right. You need to talk to other people.

HANNAH S.:

and don't pay for it. Just ask somebody. Like there are other things online that are like, I'll just buy it. And like , yeah . And you're don't buy it. [inaudible]

SHANNON DOERING:

ask somebody, and if they ask you to pay for it and never talk to them.

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

my resource. So we do this thing called like informal/formal observations and like, you know, oh, it's a lot of process. I know it's a lot of like rigamaroll, but honestly that's, that's every single time I come away from an observation, I feel like I'm getting to be a better teacher because I'm getting feedback. Yeah. Feedback and exact and specific feedback of like at 48 seconds or 40 minutes and 12 seconds you've said this phrase, I think maybe we keep using that phrase because it's really, really effective at 37 minutes and 15 seconds you said this phrase and the kids responded this way. So I get like exact specific feedback and that's like my, the head of my fine arts department is amazing. Um, and so he's able to give me specific feedback and I, every single time I'm like, oh cool, can't wait to be better. So that's, that's my resource that I can't live without. Very, very like heavy thirded on the also other teachers. Yeah.

HANNAH S.:

Quadrupled on the other teachers. Um, but also like us as theatre teachers, they're like we have other people, but typically in a school you don't have other people. So then like some people will come in and be like, wow, I don't really know what to tell you because this is so different. But we should be using creative drama in class, in other classrooms. That's a whole other side bar . But to highlight another resource , um, online classrooms I have found to be amazing. Um, so my school is, I've had the opportunity to work with iPads, with student teaching , so that was an apple school and we use Google classroom. Um , now I'm at a PC school and we are using Microsoft.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

And what about your parting words of wisdom?

DANIEL ESQUIVEL:

Um , yes, and. Oh yes. And always say yes And because not only will it make you push yourself out of your comfort zone, just like you're asking your students to do, but also you're contributing to an environment. You are contributing to a culture and you have to remember that even if you just say yes, you have to say yes and.

SAM ROSENFELD:

can I piggyback off that? Yes and say no. I think also saying no is so is so important. I I, yes. I'm like, yes , man all the time. And then I end up like wanting to cry at home every night. So like don't again like going back to that self care piece. Like it is okay to say no and say why, but say he say no and like, no, I'm not going to do this but I could do this instead or I can help you in this way. But that is what you're telling me I need to do right now is something that is not realistically getting done because there's other priorities and set your priorities and know your priorities and make your students your priority. Because at the end of the day, that's what matters.

HANNAH S.:

Oh my gosh. Don't compare yourself to others. Like your journey is specific to you and yourself. I'm terrible at following my own advice. So trust me, hits not easy, but don't compare yourself to others. Um , you will never be at the same place as someone else. Even other first year teachers. You are the only person who is you. Enjoy your journey. Um , ask for help and don't be afraid to be like, you know what? I really don't know and I'm going to cry by the copier. Cause that's what ended up happening to me all the time. And I always cried by the copier and there was always somebody there that was like, are you okay ? And I was like, no. And I just started crying by the copier. Um, but yeah, ask for help and it's okay . I'm gonna cry now.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

There's no copier!

ALL:

Words of wisdom, right ? No. Ask for help. Yes.

HANNAH S.:

Yeah . Like you, cause you have to, you can't do it by yourself and like, I'm still by myself, like in the corner and everyone's like help me. Like I'm trying a nd I'm just like, I'm, leveling with your students being like, I'm trying. T hat's a ll we can do is that I'm learning with you and we're g oing t o make it and we're g oing t o g row together. And there's going to be growing p ains. F ull circles.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, I am very proud of the four of you. I know you had a successful year. I know there were growing pains. I know you're going to keep growing and I'm looking for the day that I can send you student teachers. Um, but thank you .

ALL:

You said make sure that all the time [inaudible].

JIMMY CHRISMON:

but thank you for talking with me today. I know my student teachers next fall will enjoy hearing your words and hopefully new teachers starting in the fall. Can gather some wisdom from what you've, you've learned over this first year . So thank you so much for Talking. Thank you to Sam, Hannah, Shannon, and Dan for taking the time to talk with me as you were wrapping up your school year and I hope your yew Year has started off fantastically. I'm excited to hear how things are going with that. Hope you enjoy my chat with them. They were four amazing student teachers and what I didn't share with, but at the beginning was that they were my very first four student teachers when I came to ISU. So they were out in the field my very first year at ISU and they hold a special place in my heart, so all the best to the four of you. We're going to shift gears just a little bit now and I'm gonna introduce a new segment on the show for you. This is where my current student teachers who are in the field are going to share with you and introduce themselves to you and just give an update of how things are going with them. We're going to do a weekly or biweekly check in with them to see how things are going, so there are going to be some recurring characters here in our s in our story here on THED Talks and I hope you enjoy that. This is Kelli Lawrence and Emma Harmon. Well I'm excited to welcome to THED Talks. Two of my current student teachers actually my only two current student teachers right now out in the field at Kelli Lawrence and Emma Harmon. Tell us a little bit about yourself and a little bit about your placement and then we'll get into the check in and how things are going.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

I'm Kelli Lawrence. I am over at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois. I like to say that it's like the corner of Illinois, literally. Um, and I don't know , It's been about two weeks now. I start student teaching like an actual class tomorrow. So that's a little exciting. Um , aside from that, it's all of that is kind of a lot to think about because I've , I'm also a transfer student from Joliet junior college, so I've only really been at ISU for two years.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

So you take over your first class starting tomorrow, is that what you're saying?

KELLI LAWRENCE:

Yeah, yes. I'll be taking over theatre production starting tomorrow. So

JIMMY CHRISMON:

tell us a little bit about what that class is.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

uh , so that's basically just the whole like the behind the scene aspects of , um , theatre. Um, so from like the technical stuff to who runs what, like we kind of just went over the hierarchy of job titles and everything. So we are going over that with all the kids. And , uh , when I start we will be starting with , uh, making set models, which is pretty cool. And then we'll kind of move into props and costumes and lighting and stuff like that throughout the weeks.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well good. I W I do want to come back to that in a minute cause I , I've read over your lesson plan so far and I know that you've got a really cool project that you're starting with them, that I, I'd like you to tell us a little bit about, in just a little bit about right now I want to meet Emma and have Emma introduce herself to us.

EMMA HARMON:

Sure. Um, so I'm placed at Highland Park High School and there are two theatre teachers there. Um, there's David and Scott and David's responsible, oh my gosh, for so much. He does like the auditorium management and he teaches the tech classes and filmmaking classes and he does teach a section of acting one that I'm with him on. And then my other cooperating teacher, Scott, handles all of the advanced acting levels as well as some of the acting one. Uh , so my course load while I'm with them is to do acting one with Scott acting one with David, a tech theatre with David, which I am not, I'm not like a tech god like Kelli is. So it's much harder than me . Um, and then I'm in acting three and advanced theatre performance with Scott on the fall.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Oh Wow. All right . You gotta big old full load You're dealing with yeah, but I don't know . We're working on it. It's great. Good deal. I just wanted to check in with you both and just kind of see how things are going. Um, I know I visited your schools this past week and uh , I saw, I met all your teachers. Um , Kelli already knew yours, but it was exciting to me and those cooperating teachers. So , um, just kind of fill me in a little bit on how things have been going. What have you, what has been going well and what are some things that you're worried about or concerned about?

EMMA HARMON:

All things have been going really well so far. Um, I was really intimidated to be working with my cooperating teachers because I regard them highly. And I think like what I keep reminding myself is Emma, if you're scared of something, it's probably a sign that you're about to learn. Um, and that's something that I think has been coming up for me while student teaching. And that's , um, like when I've , whenever I've been leading activities, none of them have gone poorly, but it's, it's so true that you just get those jitters the first couple of times that you go up in front of the students. Um, and something that I feel fortunate about though is that David and Scott, both of them have been so gracious and welcoming as I entered their theatre program. And they have, they've been very vocal to their students about how grateful they are to have me. And I think that it's made a world of difference , um, in my student teaching experience to have cooperating teachers that have been so grounded , um, because they're leading the culture of their program and by them saying explicitly like, we are so happy to have her here. Or , uh , please listen to her. Please be good to her. Um, they do. And the students that I've been working with have been so inspiring and thoughtful. Um, so all of that has been going really well so far. Um, and then the thing that has been a challenge is just to try and keep , um , all the scheduling straight in my brain. I think both Kelly and you, Jimmy have gotten texts and emails at all odd hours being like, wait, what am I turning in right now? Or as you know, as evidence, like 10 minutes ago what I just said to Jimmy was just an edit session . But my thing is I need a , a big planner with like three different colors of erase markers and yeah,

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well cause what people may not know is I expect a lot of you when you're in the field, I expect you to do well and uh , I have some things in place to help you with that. And, but I am also not a jerk. And, and if you need a little extra time that I'll work with you, but, but you do have a lot going on and you do have a lot expected of you for this. And uh, yeah, so far you've, you've been tackling it well and uh, your, your cooperating teachers both seem pretty or else all three seem pretty , um, excited and impressed with you so far. So , um , just keep your head above water and you'll be fine.

EMMA HARMON:

You've been so kind to , I just need to get my colored sharpies out and make it happen.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

And Kelli, how about you?

KELLI LAWRENCE:

It was definitely like Emma said , it's intimidating the first, especially the first week just having all of the kids come in, especially how Ann has been there for ever. So they all kind of know her, they know how she works and it was kind of intimidating being introduced and knowing that at some point your gonna have to take over for someone who's kind of made their mark on how things are run in theatre. Um, but Ann has also been super, super awesome with , uh , making sure that all the students know that this girl, like just as important as I am up here. So like she could give you referrals just as easily as I can. Um, but , uh, I think one of the first few days of Ann was just like, hey, you know how to play this game. I was like, yeah. She's like, okay, good. Go teach it to this class next hour. And at first I wanted to have a panic attack because I didn't have time to like really process it, but I think that was like kind of a good thing, but just kinda like throw me in even though it was just like a small game to teach . Um , but I think that was super, super helpful because it already , uh , allowed me to start having like the relationship with the kids that early on rather than just kind of like sitting there. Um, I think I , uh, have also been not procrastinating on things. I've been very adamant about myself making sure that I have stuff either in the works or planning or something like in that nature, just so I'm not overwhelmed so far. I say two weeks in. Um, so I think that that's going well as well. Um, something that I'm a little bit nervous about is that , um, I, so whenever I talk about being nervous to friends or family about teaching theatre or saying that I am afraid that students are just not going to like me, they're go to comforting idea is that it's theatre, whoever is in that class is there because they want to take it. I've learned very quickly this past week, few weeks that that's not true. So I have a specific class that just does not want anything to do with theatre. So that's kind of what's intimidating for me is that class specifically. But , um, the past few weeks I've learned a lot about the students in that class. So it's kind of making it a little bit easier for me to wrap my head around the fact that I will some point soon have to teach these kids. Um, but yeah, I think that it's , that's the biggest intimidator for me right now.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, and when I met with you all this week, it was, I , you hopefully you found a little comfort in the fact that, that your cooperating teacher Ann said that, you know, they were an anomaly class for her as well and that she's also wrapping her mind around how to reach them . So working together on that, it's going to be really interesting and fun for both of you.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

Yes. Yeah. I've had a lot of surprises for both of us this week was figuring that class out.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, that's good. So I just want to ask one more, one more question for you and then I'll open it up to you if there's anything you want to talk about. But , um, as you've started as over these two weeks, you've been working with your cooperating teachers. What, what about their personalities and uh, ways of running their classes are, are different than the way you would and what are you learning from that and how are you , um , taking that in and, and bettering yourself in your practice or learning from and and figuring out what you will do?

KELLI LAWRENCE:

I know for sure Ann is definitely gonna toughen me up this semester because I think I've written it in one of my weekly reflections so far that like the kids, like will ask you anything in order to get out of class, whether it's just to go to the bathroom, go to their locker or something. And I know this is such a simple example, but to me I always want to say yes. Like, oh you just want to go to the bathroom. That's fine. You could go. And I, when it comes to Ann, and I think this kind of comes along with her level of experience and being there for as long as she has her simple answer is no, sit down. And to me, like I said, I just wanted to like always say yes and so like it's already like starting to kind of rub off on me a little bit. Like to kind of find that middle ground. And I know I, I do need to like toughen up a little bit when it comes to that aspect because then like they're just gonna want to walk all over you. Um, so it's definitely helps with that. So far being able to not be the sweet little like preschool cool teacher, but no , like you're teaching high school to like really toughen up .

JIMMY CHRISMON:

What about you Emma?

EMMA HARMON:

Something that I've had already a lot of conversation with David and Scott about is like, how do I develop my own style , um , and working with within the classroom culture that they've are already set up. Um, and so they'll be having conversations with me and , um, I'll be pointing out things that I liked that they did and they've had to pause and say like, yeah, but that's not what you have to do and you're here because you do bring something that is different from us to the table. Um, a conversation that I was having with David about on Friday was the fact that I am a woman and the two of them , um, bring forward a totally different energy than I do. And already in my teaching I've had like female students in a weird way kind of flock to me. Um , and I found too , I, I was kind of hesitant when they did because I was like, you know, I'm really glad that they're opening up to me and that they feel connected with me, but I don't want them to think that I'm like just too buddy buddy with them. Like, I am Ms. Harmon , hear me roar, you know. But it's something that Scott said is that my age is the only thing that I cannot control. So something that I've had to make peace with is like it , like let your age work with you and like wear the professional clothings that you need to wear and use the language that is professional but also know that like if they see someone that's younger and they're like, thank God I can relate to her, then don't try and shut that down. Cause that's something that's really valuable to them and their day is to have a teacher that they can connect to and that way. Um , so that's something that I've been , um, kind of like working through. Um, it's not something that I kind of thought would happen.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

I think back on my student teaching and how I, I tried everything in the world to adapt to exactly what my cooperating teacher did. Um, and then the next year when I, when I, when I started my job and I had my own classroom and I was trying to be Barbara Mager and it just didn't work cause it was, it wasn't authentic. It wasn't me. And I had to take the things that I learned from her and those skills of, of being tougher, of, of knowing where those professional lines were of, of being the educational leader in the class. Um, versus where's that balance between that and the the friend and the, and the, the mentor that the students want as well. So , um, when I quit trying to do Barbara Mager when I went to , when I quit trying to play that role and just take the things that I learned is when my classroom culture started to develop and my persona as a teacher started to develop. Because I think I've told both of you before that you know, any of your clinicals and especially in student teaching, there is a bit of a, a false nature to it because you're plugging yourself into someone else's culture and it's still not authentically your classroom. And that's one of those big challenges. But I have no worries for the two of you. I know you're going to , you're going to find that balance and you're going to do that and do that well. Um, but I , I encourage you to keep looking for those things in, in your cooperating teachers that, that you can take and use later, but use it the way that Emma and Kelli would use it.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

I know , um , I was kind of having that issue with like my inner thoughts the past week too . I was like, okay, well I have to be like Ann to get through to these kids because they are used to Ann, and then like, so I think that's kind of something that I'm working on more specifically going forward is trying to find that balance and trying to like find new projects that maybe they haven't done yet or rather than the same old stuff. So maybe like if I do something that they really like then Ann would want to use it in the future, the kids like it, they'll say that they would want to do it again. So I'm kind of trying to think about that going forward.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well, and I think when I was at , when I was there at your school this week, I told you, you know, that that was one of the things that I, I was like, I dare you, student teacher. Whenever I had student teachers, I was like, I dare you to do a lesson, that I'm going to steal from you and use later on. So for me that was one of the cool things that I got new ideas from, from you all. You were bringing new things for me to look at as well. So I dare you to give your teacher something that they're going to use later. So you should do that.

EMMA HARMON:

I was bringing in , um , a polymorph game from one of my acting one classes and it was super exciting. It was like the first thing that I brought in and it was something that , um, was folded into the polymorph and all of the classes like Scott and David. But you know, the students love it, teach it to everybody. Um , it was the joke because it was like my first day with like a five second warm up game. Um, but that's something that I think helps like legitimize us to , um, to the students is , is like bringing in things that are our own and being acknowledged. Like, this is not my idea. It's their idea. And then when the students latch onto it, they're like, okay , we're with you.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

So Kelli, you, you kind of alluded to a little bit about the project that you're starting tomorrow. I'm Emma, I'm going to come to you in a minute about something that you're looking forward to teaching in the coming week or so. But Kelli, tell us just like the spark notes version of, of the project you're starting. Yeah, so it's the beginning of the set design unit. And so before we even get into all of the technical technical stuff , um, it's called the all about me musical project . And essentially what it is, is they , they create a musical based on their own life . So what they'll, they'll get like a questionnaire saying, what's your favorite color? What do you do on a Saturday? What can you not live without? And the aspects of the project is that they're supposed to create a model of a set, not really knowing exactly how to do that, but that's kind of the point , um, out of , uh , things in their daily life. So, and then like you'll give them four different, four or five different scenes and they have to create four different like areas of the set specifically for those scenes. So one of them is all about their favorite color. One of them is all about , um, their best friends. One of them is all about something that they can't live without. And so it's , it's essentially just like them creating their own set design based off of a musical they are coming up with on the spot. So I'm kind of excited to see what comes of that because uh , then we'll move into the actual process of learning how to build a scale model of a set. Um, so just to kind of see that differentiation between the preset and then the postset that when they're actually designing a set of an actual script . But yeah, I'm excited.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

That's awesome. So Emma, what is something you're looking forward to, to teaching coming up?

Speaker 11:

Well, this next week we are moving into stage two of our animal unit in acting three. Um, and the animal unit in general is so cool to watch as the fly on the wall because it is so student led. It's , it's explorations really for the whole class. And instead of being like tuned out and just kind of sitting aside, it's fascinating to watch how the students have evolved so much. Even like from, from two weeks ago, just their comfortability I think with using their voices and their body has , has just exploded and it's crazy to be a fly on the wall in that classroom. And this next week we're challenging them to make that transition from like their animal, like moving as the animal to whatever they think the human form of that animal will be. Um, and I'm kind of scared to teach it because it's one of those, it's not like , a game that I give the instructions and then they're kind of off to the races. It's one of those things where I'm guiding them into meditation and then I'm giving them bits and pieces of story structure and coaching them along the way. Um, and it's that sort of like movement, coaching that I feel like I didn't, I never gave myself really the , the space to practice that , um, in my training. So I've never really done it before and Scott's done it for 30 years. So , um, I'm not, you know, I'm not trying to be him, but also I don't want the students to be like, wait, what, what are you talking about? I just, I want to be able to support them and, and help facilitate what I believe can be like a transformative experience for them as actors. So I'm really excited for them to make that transition. I'm excited to try my hand at it. I'm a little scared, but I think it's going to be good.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well I'm excited to check back in with you in a week or two and just see how things have gone and how things are progressing. Um, I will be able to observe you in a couple of weeks and I'm very excited about that. Um, and I hope you're not nervous about that. I just, I love coming out to watch you all teach and I love learning from you as you're teaching. So I hope you're looking forward to that as well.

EMMA HARMON:

You're like the best Cheerleader ever . It's going to be great.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

I do what I can. Uh , was there anything else you wanted to hit on before we said goodbye?

EMMA HARMON:

If I could just chime in and say that I feel like there's a really big difference between learning how to be a theatre teacher in the college setting and then really being in a school all day. Um, and in my experience it's been like the most affirming, inspiring thing ever. And I'm just, I'm happy to be in a place where I'm kind of scared and challenged every day . Um , but also really supported and, and learning so much. And I, it's been a really exciting place to be in a real school in a real school with real children.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

Well and that's, that's the best place to be emotionally with it too, is you're a little bit terrified. You're a little bit anxious that you're extremely excited and you're very supported. And if a lesson falls flat on its face, you've got amazing cts there that are gonna . All right, pick yourself up. Dust your all. Let's keep going. Let's you know it's the way it is. And , and you, I think you both feel you both, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you've both feel that you're in a place where you can do that. You feel supported if that happens.

KELLI LAWRENCE:

Absolutely.

JIMMY CHRISMON:

And that ladies and gentlemen is a wrap for episode two of season two of THED Talks. Thank you so much for listening. You can always find our show notes and archives on our website at www.thedtalks.com. Go on to any of your favorite podcast providers at apple podcasts on iTunes, Google podcasts on Google play, Spotify, stitcher, anypod. Tunein. Go on your favorite provider. Subscribe to the show. Rate us, review us, and share it with people who you think could benefit from what we're doing here. You can always contact me on email at thedtalkspodcast@gmail.com can find us on all your favorite social media on Twitter @theatreedtalks, Tumblr thedtalks.tumblr.com Facebook THED Talks, Instagram @thedtalkspodcast, and of course our website, www. thedtalks .com. I know this episode was a little long, but I think there's some great information and getting to meet my student teachers and talk to my four former students who are currently in the field. So thank you to all my guests. Thank you Joel Hamlin and Joshua Shusterman for the use of your song Magnetize and the new song we're using the season, Flip the record. Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a fantastic week. Tune in next week and check out our next episode. Thanks for listening. Have a great week.