Posted 21 December 2012 12:00 AM by Valerie Stephens, Teaching Artist at Quincy Elementary School Target Arts Program
It’s the second and last performance of the Quincy Elementary School Winter Celebration 2012. We are queued up waiting for our turn, two classes in front of us. It has been an exciting day with the first performance going well, with only the slightest of glitches. Now, we are veterans waiting for our turn on stage with the glib detachment of seasoned professionals.
Suddenly, Zach turned to me and, with deliberate seriousness, says “Miss Stephens, are you coming to our class after vacation?” Alan, my first ally in Miss Lee’s first grade class, chimes in “Yeah, Tuesdays and Fridays, right?” They looked up at me waiting.
I had been their Teaching Artist for the last ten weeks and during that time, we worked on devising an original theater piece based on the lessons in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We also giggled, laughed and made funny faces together. Now, the class was over but the bond between students and teaching artist is delicately strong.
My experience as a teaching artist has shown me that it is important to end the residency by taking time to have a short meeting with the students one last time, to celebrate and process our creative journey together. During that time, the students will have an opportunity to talk about the performance and the fun & challenges of theater. I had already talked to Miss Lee about visiting her class during the first week of school. The plan was set.
So, I looked down at Zach and Alan and said “I will be stopping by your class when you come back from vacation.” That was enough. It was time to go on. I smiled. I’ll miss them after all we had smiled, giggled and made funny faces together.