In the spirit of self care, I am forgiving myself for the tardiness of this post. The work and day to day teaching/interaction this semester across all my courses has been much more intense than it was last spring. When this assignment hit my email, I was in the weeds dealing with with end of the semester (post Thanksgiving/pre-finals) “it’s getting real what my grade is” etc issues. So here we go… All in all, I was thinking it was a bit of a mixed bag, Of course, the culture and experience of each class is so different that you have to stay present and implement what is needed in the moment now more than ever. Bt here is a review of my planned goals.
1. Looking for and doubling up on positive (confidence building) warm up and connecting exercises – this was success to some degree – though more to the warm up – poor connection issues (wifi) and inability to see the whole class at one time (taking class on phone) created disparities that cut out a large array of exercises I had hoped to use.
2. Encouraging and assigning individuals to share music that is touching or inspirational to them. (Incorporating it in into our warm up for the day. ) This worked great for one class and was kind of a flop in my other.
3. Working twice the amount of time on community/ensemble building. See # 1 for result.
4. Having 1/2 the class rehearse while the the other half works scenes until the final showing of the scenes so all can see and support with positive feedback. So they have work time in class, instead of having to do all rehearsal outside of the class time.) This worked great across the board and helped give them a sense of community which is the hardest thing about virtual learning in regard to any theater or performing course. So big win here.
5. Emphasizing peer support (outside of class time) to foster community. Another big win.
6. Choosing material (and encouraging them to choose material) that is uplifting and fosters resiliency. This worked well.
7. Looking for ways to them to do their homework – off of technology – encouraging handwritten notes that can be photographed and uploaded. This worked too.
Looking back on it, I guess there was more positive to the plan and the outcomes than I figured. It was a VERY HARD semester, many students had Covid, and a couple had parents/grandparents who did not survive, more than a couple students struggle in major ways with their mental health and it was intense. I did my best to hold space for them without taking on their trauma- its hard we are all going through a lot.
I hope you all have happy and healthy holidays. Wishing you all the peace and rest you can get on winter break . Lori