January 14, 2013

Dilemma of dedication in Theatre

I am in a constant struggle with students. This is an odd thing to say, but they want to do everything and it doesn't work.

As a theatre teacher I have learned this lesson over and over again - when you try to do more than one thing at once, each thing you are doing suffers for it. The more things you pile on, the more each individual thing suffers.

My students want to play soccer, do Boy or Girl Scouts, star in the school Musical, be involved in a singing group, AND maybe get their homework done. We, as people, can't do it all. I really don't like using that word, I like to overcome it regularly, but this is one instance where it fits.

Every once in a while I will have a student who wants to do an after school show. But, once they see the rehearsal schedule (three days a week for four months) they think k twice. Nothing makes me happier. They have made the conscious decision to balance their lives and to help our show by not committing to something for which they have no time.

How do we make this issue of over commitment clear to students. Also, how, do we as teachers try to balance what we ask of them with the rest of their world's demands?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think those are very valid questions. I think one way to get to the answer is that teachers and parents need to start setting the example and be a role model to our students/children. As adults, we have taken on too much in our lives, almost more than we can chew so to speak. Even without kids, I find myself bogged down with daily tasks such as work, taking care of our dogs, our home, chores, family, music, and extracurricular activities. Add children to the mix, and you have a whole new set of tasks to complete and not enough time. I think the true answer here is we need to learn how to SLOW DOWN and take time to smell the flowers. We are all so busy and caught up in the hustle that we forget that we are only human. Nobody is perfect and mistakes are made so we can learn from them.

I feel that one mistake everyone should learn from is over complicating their individual schedules and stressing over what needs to get done so urgently. We need to stop, and make time to relax. Everyone needs rest and relaxation, so I feel if people schedule time to relax that might help. Even better, they just know they need to slow down, cut down their crazy work/homework/school/extracurricular activities schedule and just take time to unwind. This could be anything from sleeping, to yoga, to watching TV, or just sitting in silence for 15 minutes to clear your own mind. If adults do this, then they can set an example for their children to slow down showing that it is okay to only do one activity after school. I strongly believe that kids are looking to their parents, their teachers, and other adults as role models. They see people in society filling their schedules to the brim and being "successful at life." What they don't know is, that for many, this "success" leads to other things suffering, whether it is family time, time alone, or just happiness because you are so stressed and overwhelmed with your busy schedule.

We need to do what your student did with the musical...look over your schedule and realize you can't do everything and be everything. You can achieve a lot if you are willing to realize your full potential can be reached by concentrating on less. In doing this you will hopefully overcome the task of having a lot of little things being mediocre but instead of one or two things that are exceptional.

Thank you for your post.

Suzy Russell