Sunday, November 21, 2004

Inherit the Wind

My final project for my Theater Across the Curriculum class is an interdisciplinary unit plan on the play Inherit the Wind. I have posted it at the Teachers' Lounge wiki. You can find it on the Middle School Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts pages.

Incidentally, this is the last class offered by the UFT that I will ever take. Please hold me to that. Sure, it's cheap and gets me three credits closer to my 30-and-above salary differential, but good grief! My time is worth so much more than this... I came back from class on Tuesday to open the union newsletter to the headline: "Many teachers still find DOE professional development tedious, irrelevant." I was sorely tempted to write them a letter describing the tedious and irrelevant course I am taking from them!

The teacher is a sweet and well-intentioned guy. And I have used many of the activities I learned from him in my after school drama class. But he takes two hours to model activities for us that he should be able to present to us in 30 minutes! We actually spent about an hour walking around the classroom trying out a lesson on stage directions. It was a good lesson, and I used it the following day, but A WHOLE HOUR??? Two weeks ago, we actually spent two hours discussing how to read a theater ticket, how to find your seat in the theater, theater etiquette, etc. I understand the importance of these topics before you take your students to see a play, but again, it was much too basic to spend so much time covering. Classes like this - lacking any kind of rigor - make us all look bad. I hate to add to the litany of criticism of teacher education programs, but as someone who attended selective universities for both my undergraduate degree and my masters degree, I can't spend two hours of my evening bored out of my mind. I just can't. Meanwhile, he's saving a lesson on how to put on a play for the last session of the class. That could actually be useful, and it could easily fill more than a single session if done well. Come January, I am going to start rehearsing a real play with my drama class, and I hoped to get ideas and support from this theater class. I do hope we get to fill out a feedback form at the end of the class.

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