To Look, To Lend, To Learn

Posted 6 November 2012 12:00 AM by Toni Bee

My Mom was a Kindergarten teacher. My Dad, being a wordsmith, still continues to urge me (and my daughter) to devour the dictionary whenever possible.

So I should not be surprised to find myself a part of the Education Department at Citi Performing Arts Center. As you see, teaching is in my DNA and some angel must have given me a dose of creativity.

Still, I keep on bumping into angels and they linger on the second floor at the Shubert Theatre and in classrooms in the city.

Valerie Stephens has been a classroom-angel who is a source of inspiration for me. On a weekly basis I have been witness to the ways of Ms. Stephens – storyteller, actress, and Teaching Artist here at Citi Center. She instructs and creates with a classroom of first graders and she does it with ease.

Stephens comes into the class and the kids are excited to see her and as I LOOK I am amazed at the grace she extends toward the children (“Thank You” she says when good deeds are done)

Of course, whenever I observe her I am there to LEND assistance wherever she needs but mostly I am there to LEARN. Have you ever tried to get the attention of 5 and 6 year olds? It takes a special kind of skill to do that Valerie’s creative control is amazing. Every child is transfixed on her when she is reading a book, singing an original song, or tapping a rhythm.

Students at the Quincy School

I am enthusiastic about the upcoming Grinch readings in Boston at Faneuil Hall and in the local Libraries - especially after being “taught” by Valerie. Did you know that the name Valerie means ‘to be strong’? And that is just what Miss Stephens - that classroom angel - has given me, a dose of sturdy, fun, and bold. Looking, lending, and learning is a great door to continue entering into as I stroll up the art-Path.

Valerie Stephens, Teaching Arist



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