The holy calling of the teaching artist

Perhaps I wanted to write this blog merely to make an excuse for why I went quiet for three months.*

For the last two years I’ve taught one class, M-F, at a local Catholic high school, a basic-theatre-principles-and-beginning-acting class. How can one class, five days a week, take so much time and energy? I finish at 11:25 every morning (11:05 on Wednesday Mass days), then I get some lunch, then by the time I sit down to work and answer the emails that have piled up it feels like the day is nearly over, so why bother. Teaching takes A LOT of bandwidth. Ten days left, but who’s counting. [I am. I am counting.]

Over the past 35 years I’ve taught students aged 10 through college. In addition to acting and theatre basics classes, like I’m teaching now, I’ve taught: business skills and entrepreneurship for artists, public speaking, oral interpretation (i.e. performance of literature), Shakespeare (acting, literature, and history), contemporary dramatic literature, medieval dramatic literature, NYC cultural history, and even one extremely misjudged foray into film aesthetics. [Note to self: I am not a film person, and film people can tell.] 

Many artists take teaching gigs for purely utilitarian reasons. Teaching pays when sometimes creating doesn’t. I took both the high school job and the film aesthetics class at the height of COVID, when my musician husband had lost most of his work, solely as a way to help us pay the bills. But other teaching gigs have fed my spirit and my creativity even more than they’ve fed my body. 

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