I spent the day at a Junior College in the eastern part of Singapore. I had a wonderful day, having a lot of great conversations with both students and faculty.
JC is one of only 4 schools in Singapore that offer “A Level” exams in theatre studies, so the program there is rigorous and comprehensive. I sat in on two different theatre classes and learned a lot. I think you learn so much about teaching by watching other people teach. It was truly a pleasure to sit in on the drama teacherr’s classes today. And! I was inspired to do some great ideas for activities I can bring back to school.
One of the most fun things that happened today was during the time I was hanging out in the Staff Room. I have a cubicle assigned to me in the Staff Room, so I have somewhere to go in between classes. All of the 100+ teachers at the school have cubicles in a Staff Room that is HUGE. There’s also a pretty large couch area, a kitchen, and – I kid you not – a massage chair. It was in use when I was there or I would have tried it. Next time.
While I was hanging out in my cube, many different teachers stopped by to say hello. One teacher gave me copy of a chapbook she’d written (so kind) and another invited me to his classes. And! One! Came by to say hello who was a childhood friend of my Seattle based pal Ruth. She works at the school. That was so fun!
I also had a chance to meet with Jaclyn who coordinates the Community Involvement Program at the school. The students in their first year at junior college are required to do a CIP project. (The structure is similar to the NWS Grade 10 version, by the way). I had a great conversation with the CIP Coordinator about the Applied Theatre class I teach for 9 / 10 grade students in Seattle.
My Applied Theatre class at The Northwest School in Seattle is essentially a theatre as social engagement course which helps students develop leadership skills and explore how art (specifically theatre) can be used to give voice to underserved communities and help change society.
One of the projects I do with my Applied Theatre students is intergenerational in scope; the students spend several weeks designing and facilitating drama workshops with elders at a retirement community near the school. The CIP coordinator is interested in developing a community drama project at JC. The plan is unfolding, but if it all works, this may provide me with the “action” part of my action research project. I’m really excited about this possibility.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am having a spectacular time and I love Singapore. I feel completely blessed to be here. What a gift.