A Day of Many Firsts

What a Day!

Yesterday was quite a day at Herndon High School. I led my first field trip in my young teaching career. Yesterday was my first time inside Sidney Harman Hall (on the stage to be precise) as a part of my first time participating in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Text Alive! program. Yesterday was the first time I held a musical audition workshop where I didn’t feel anxious or underprepared. Yesterday was the first time I released a post-show survey for the cast and crew of a mainstage production. And yesterday was the first (but hopefully not last) time that this blog got a comment! While I hardly took photos (kinda tough with everything going on) I do have some observations.

First Field Trip

My first field trip as a public school teacher was an unequivocal success. Our mission was to travel to downtown DC to Sidney Harman Hall for a 1pm technical rehearsal and return to Herndon High.

This face does not look like a “what a successful first field trip” but it was the best I could muster at the time.

The timing and distance of the trip meant that the kids would have to bring lunch and metro fare, and that a bus ride to the metro and a metro ride to the theatre was in our future. For my first trip, it was a lot of logistics to handle, and I don’t think I would have done anything any differently. For one student, our field trip represented their first ever ride on the metro (another first)! We made it to the theatre just a couple of minutes late (but nothing egregious) about which I was only mildly freaking out about. But because we arrived late, it lit a fire under my Theatre Arts 2 students like I had never seen before in them. They moved with urgency when collecting props, moving furniture, and going through their blocking. I hope these students retain the memory of this urgency for the rest of their lives because it will serve them well.

First Time Alive!

My first time participating in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Text Alive! program has been great so far. While I will go into further detail about the program in a future post, needless to say the opportunity for my students to rehearse on a professional stage yesterday (even for only 45 minutes) connected them to a world that many had never experienced before. I was also informed by the program director of Text Alive! that our individual scene is the first in the history of the program that will be performed partly in Spanish. So I’m glad that our first time in the program is making its mark. We’re performing on Saturday (Dec. 2nd) at 10am at Sidney Harman Hall.

First Stress-Free Workshop 

Yesterday marked the first time in my young teaching career that I held an audition workshop and didn’t feel stressed, anxious, or underprepared. This new feeling of relaxation may have a lot to do with the hours of preparation I put in the night before. But it also has a lot to do with the excitement and positivity in the air surrounding the upcoming Spring musical: Into the Woods. There will be plenty to blog about in the coming weeks and months regarding our production, but for now, I’m just loving the atmosphere I felt in the workshop.

This is what awaited me upon my return to HHS from the field trip.

Feedback Feeds Forward

Reflecting on past experiences (positive and negative) while they are still fresh in the mind allows for better experiences in the future. Yesterday marked the first time I actually put a survey together for the cast and crew of Twelfth Night to fill out.

This anonymous (yikes!) survey asked participants to vote on their two favorite performances in acting and tech. The form also asked them to rate their experience on a positive-negative scale, and feeling of safety, as well as give any feedback they deem worthy of sharing. While I haven’t received feedback from everyone yet, what I have received has been simultaneously validating and humbling. As a lifelong learner, I strive to improve my process for each subsequent production, and hopefully never repeat avoidable mistakes.

Last First

My last first from yesterday marked the first time this blog received a comment! And perhaps in the first time in the history of the Internet, the first comment was overwhelmingly positive! I hope you all (all four of you who read this far) feel compelled to comment positively as well, but at this point all of your comments are welcome (but not guaranteed to be approved).

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  1. Sara Metcalf on November 29, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Sounds like a pretty great day! Thanks for all you do!

  2. Emily B Muha on November 30, 2017 at 6:51 am

    What an exciting day! Looks like an enthusiastic talented group! Doesn’t get any better than that!!

  3. Ken Wilson on November 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Not bad at all! What do you have lined up for today?

    • Raphael Schklowsky on November 30, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Nothing nearly as exciting (thank goodness!), just some epic long-form improv and tightening up our Text Alive! scene for Saturday.

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