Freedom Writers

Based on true events of a highschool teacher and her students, this movie moved me.  It brought me back to my time with the “at risk” teens in New York City when I worked at The Door.  My position was of Senior Counselor for the S.O.S program, the Second Opportunity School for students who were to serve 1 year Board of Education suspensions in the new program.  I was among four counselors who developed and implemented counselling sessions that would support the development of the youth along side their special classrooms.  None of them wanted to be there at first and I didn’t blame them. 

Watching Freedom Writers got me wondering about the students I had developed relationships with almost 5 years ago.  I wonder if any of them graduated and what they went on to doing afterwards.  It’s an amazing honour to be a guide in a child’s life and an equally enourmous responsibility. 

Yesterday, I was scheduled to attend an general audition for a theatre company.  I had about 2.5 weeks to prepare for it and as the days went by, I acknowledged that I should be choosing monologues and memorizing but when it came to the actions I chose, I chose to put my energy towards other things.  I chose to spend time designing clothes, I chose to read and write, I chose to put time into “Learning out of Bounds”, and I thought more about how I can develop my work as a facilitator of learning and growth.  And I look at the number of entries on my blog under performing arts (3) and compare that to the number of entries under ‘teaching & facilitating’ (12) and I can’t help but feel that I seem to be more drawn towards education than I am to acting. 

I have for many years felt anxious about having to choose between being a teacher or being an artist.  I don’t feel so much angst anymore because I know that each one is part of the other in a very integral way.  Right now, I’m feeling pretty motivated to get into a classroom.  And this time it isn’t about what is practical or safe or convenient.  Many people think that those who can’t do, teach.  Actually, I think the conventional school system is a very scary place to be both for teachers and students, and I don’t think public education is practical.  To take up a teacher’s job structure is not as convenient as the flexibility of a freelance consultant.  Perhaps for the first time, I’m acknowledging that I do have a passion for education and for the arts.  When I choose to perform it is because I believe in giving voice to the story that will be told, and when I choose to teach it is an answer to a calling that I think I’ve had for a long time.  I think I’m getting prepared to listen now.

I hope I there will be opportunity for me to practice drama therapy in a way that is fun and fulfilling.  I hope I can do for myself what it is I try to do for others.  I hope I can keep up.

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