During summer 2013 the New York Public Library hosted an acting class where the children got an opportunity to create scrip and make masks.
I enjoyed it especially because I learned from the two teachers who had brilliant ways to keep the children on task and ‘all minds on deck’. It is 2017 and I still remember clearly how well the teachers worked together. For about 45 minutes, they taught and entertained the children. Each class setting was, everyone sitting down in a huge circle on the floor.
Each lesson would begin with an ice breaker. Hand clapping and singing. This helped the children acknowledge everyone in the room. It was here I learned how important it is to work with your colleagues and better more, acknowledge them. After an ice breaker, a mini lesson would begin by the other teacher. And they will keep passing the torch back and forth until it was time to leave.
There were about 20 children who came weekly, some Mary Mitchell Students and others neighborhood children and all were engaged.
Even though there was one focus which was, collectively writing scrip and acting, they used many ice breakers and never focused on one subject too long.
I met Mike at the library as a high school student. But back then, I was more cautious than anything, especially in the library. I was always in my ‘New York Mode’. So, if he or anyone (didn’t matter the age) spoke to me, I really didn’t speak back.
Forward years later, we are in the same writing class at the library. Come to find out, he is an incredible writer. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.
He is also full of creativity and ideas. He encourages everyone who attend the class to write, write, write and while he is not the one who teaches the class, everyone respects him as one of the teachers.
He is genuine and I am glad for the opportunity to learn from him as an adult.
I got to the library a little late.
And when I got there the kids were too involved with their homework and on the computer to notice that I came late. We found a table and soon as we sat down the drama started!
James came. He was the first one who sat at the table. He was doing math, the subject he is a genius in and begin to ask me if his answers were right.
Next to me was Joseph. He took out his reader and we read a story together about a girl who wanted to join a musical band. She could play the drums really well but the band wouldn’t let her join. When we finally finished that story, Janisha came.
She had finished the little bit of homework she had and was ready to talk or read! I couldn’t read with her and Jospeh. We (Joseph and I) had already started a chapter book titled The Secret of the Painted House by Marion Dane Bauer. I offered her to read a long with us but this little one was in her own world. She went and got another book titled The Ghost Sonata by Gilda Joyce. As if the queer book we were already reading wasn’t enough.
At the same time James and Janisha were getting into mischief. It made me wonder what was their purpose of sitting at the table? For me to continue to correct them and tell them how to behave?! When Janisha and Joseph left, along comes Taitiana.
She sits beside James. And they can’t really sit still or be nice to each other.
The librarian came over once to talk too. They just kept acting up.
Then Mel-Mel came. He wasn’t really being bad. Just cracking jokes. I got him to practice his alphabet sounds and read some words with me. This worked until he got into a fight with James. At that point I just left.
I go to the library to help children who are serious! Not those who want to spend their time playing. The librarian took over from there.