Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Cast of Characters and A Herd of Turtles

For about twelve years, I was a freelance acting teacher. My students were elementary schoolers, teens and adults. No one ever told me I could teach acting. I never got a degree to teach it. But then again, no on ever told me I couldn't do it. In fact, the kids I worked with informed me that I should teach. So I did.

The email came last week, "Could we meet for lunch?" Hm. Evidently Sydney's fifth grade teacher was needing a bit of help in class. It had been two years since I had offered my services to assist in class. Ah, you never know when the call will come.

The 5th graders read the book "The Westing House" (a really good mystery I read in about 2 sittings). I was asked to help the kids write scripts and prepare them for video taping.

(Now I am off subject for a bit. Stick with me.)

A very long time ago I was afraid to try anything. I had low self esteem and in what I lacked in confidence, I made up for in an gregarious personality. A counselor once asked me if maybe I wasn't a very confident person hiding behind the word 'introvert'. "Hm," I thought to myself. "Could be some truth in this."

We will never know our niche if we don't try to find it. We can never answer that voice, that gift inside of us, if we don't give a listen. What in the world is there to be afraid of? So we flub. We goof. We might even embarrass ourselves!! Who cares....because....we just might find ourselves, too. I found in side of me a person who ended up teaching, acting in films and acting on stage. Amazing what lurks behind closed doors.

(Now I'm back on subject. Thank you for sticking with me.)

The class was divided up in groups, each to pick scenes, assign parts and to write the script from the book. Now the term "herding turtles" is akin to organizing eleven-year-olds. Some are focused, some are not and some just don't even realize that they are indeed in class (those with heads in shells). The trick is to give them a bit of excitement for what they are doing and to turn that excitement into creative energy.

Their teacher is amazing. His kids respect him and are eager to please him. He recognizes each child's strengths and weaknesses. I'm honored to work with him and his kids. I get to learn even more.

We are all a herd of turtles. Well, there are quite a few hares as well. But when everyone finds their own strengths, the progress is incredible. In the end, all of us are on the same path. It's nice when we can help one another find their niche, their own input into this thing called life. There are the leaders, the followers, those who handle props and those who direct. Those who act and those who try. It's all about allowing ourselves to interpret who we are......

This week I'm hanging with 5th graders learning to be characters, maybe learning more about their own character.

By the way......what character are you?

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