Thursday, May 7, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week - Day Four

This is teacher appreciation week, so in honor of that, I will be posting every day about some of my favorite teachers.
Mr. McEwen was my high school theatre teacher and my 9th grade and 11th grade English teacher. I can quite honestly say that I do not think I would be a teacher had it not been for Mr. McEwen. Here’s the story.

My high school was pretty small and my freshman year of high school was the first year we had a theatre program. Mr. McEwen was not a new teacher but was new to the school and unfortunately, we weren’t a very good group of 9th graders. He tried to get us to do work, he grew frustrated and after some of the kids I have had over the last 7 years and after some of the kids I have had specifically THIS year, I can completely identify with the fact that he almost didn’t come back the next year. I think that the theatre class was his only release and it was hard to choose plays when he had 26 girls and 1 boy in the class at a Christian high school.

My freshman year wasn’t so great either. Being a freshman is hard and I didn’t really connect to a whole lot of people. I didn’t fit in any group anywhere, and I wasn’t especially good at anything. I tried out for theatre at the end of my freshman year but didn’t make it. On the second day of school my sophomore year, schedules were still being shuffled and I was in study hall. My friend Julie told me I should join theatre instead, so in the five minutes before Spanish class, we ran next door to Mr. McEwen’s class, where he was surrounded by about 8 other students all clamoring for his attention and I asked to be in his class. He hurriedly said yes, and handed me a script, and that was it.

I often wonder what direction my life would have taken if he hadn’t said yes. I got the lead in the play (Our Miss Brooks) and have never looked back. While my life has taken me off the stage since then, it was in that class that I got over my paralyzing awkwardness in front of a crowd, learned to speak loudly and clearly (we were too poor to afford microphones in the theatre we borrowed for our productions) and to think on my feet.

After my first day of teaching, I have never been nervous in front of teenagers. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life aside from teaching, but I know that I would not be a teacher if I had not been in that theatre class for three years. So thanks, Mr. McEwen, for changing my life and being such a great teacher.

1 comment:

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

My daughter is a theatre kid. She does a lot of community theatre and she told me a lot of the adults are teachers by day...