A Week in Review…

Time seems to slipping more quickly away now that I’ve been here a few weeks and am getting settled…

This week has been a busy one, filled with some new adventures and new friends.

I had the fantastic opportunity to guest teach at the JC this week for two 2 1/2 hour drama classes for JC1 students. I was super nervous about it; I have a very different teaching style than the current drama teacher at the school, and I was concerned that the students wouldn’t respond to me. Well, I was wrong. The students were fantastic, and the classes went really well. The HOD (head of department) came and observed the class on Tuesday and liked what he saw.

We are moving forward with an intergenerational drama project at the JC. The students seem excited about the opportunity, the principal, elder partners, and the CIP Coordinator are all on board. All we need to do is finalize the schedule and go for it.

This will be the action research project I will do towards the fulfillment of my Fulbright capstone project. I will be very fascinated ti see how the project resonates with the kids and elders, and how the project functions / results in a cultural context much different than the one I have been working in. I think this project will serve my future research interests well.

My Applied Theatre students in Seattle will also be involved in the project, serving as “Skype mentors” to the Singaporean students involved in the JC project. Should be a thrilling experiment!

Yesterday I finally convinced Robin Loon at NUS to be my Fulbright capstone project advisor. I am thrilled. We had a wonderful conversation about my intergenerational drama project at JC, and he helped me identify some “empathy markers” to use as quantifiable data towards my research question. As all good academics, he loaded me up with a fistful of reading on practiced-based research, handouts on how he teaches reflective journal writing to university students (which will be another data source), and gave me a good pep talk (hilariously throwing in a few comments with an “American” accent.) I really like Robin, and look forward to working with him on this project. Although his research does not parallel mine, they do intersect, and so I will be interested to see what future collaborations develop with us, too.

On Tuesday I went to see Guru of Chai, a production by a theatre company out of New Zealand produced at the Singapore Repertory Theatre. The production was performed by one man (With musical accompaniment by another guy) who told the story of a chai seller in Bangalore and his relationship with 7 sisters, a jealous policeman, and a child. The performance was excellent, and I was really impressed with how engaging, funny, and poignant a one man show could be. I am so glad I had an opportunity to see it.

I was invited to the show by a friend at the National Arts Council, and we were joined by a group if theatre arts educators for dinner and drinks. It was a blast. I feel so fortunate to have met such wonderful people here – new friends – who are giving me a culinary tour of Singapore and hooking me up with free theatre tickets.

On Thursday, I spent the evening with the Producer of Little Arts Academy. We spent 4 hours talking about arts education, sharing our educational philosophies, personal philosophies, and personal goals. Have you ever had conversations that have pushed your life in new directions? This was one of them. Inspiring.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet with several people at the Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA). What an amazing, kind, and inspiring group of people. We talked through my “attachment” with them in June / July. I’ll be presenting at the organization’s Celebrate Drama festival in early June (the same weekend I’m speaking and sitting on a panel for the Singapore Teacher’s Conference at the MOE), observing artists in residence at various schools, and writing an article for their next issue if “Dramatise,” the organizations annual publication. I’m really excited about all of these opportunities. Wonderful organization. Wonderful people.

I am enjoying my experience, but I am extraordinarily tired. I am not sleeping well. And I blame the pillows in my apartment. I think they may be lawn furniture pillows in disguise. They don’t cradle, but prop. I think my body thinks it needs to be on guard because of the propping and can’t seem to relax. I need to buy some new pillows. I’m telling you, those things are the current bane of my existence…

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