“…inquiry and open-mindedness are central to expertise…”  – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design

As I stood in front of a group of students between the ages of nine and twelve, I hate to admit that I demonstrated only half of the what the above quote references as “…central to expertise…”.

I failed miserably to remain open-minded as students shouted in their high-pitched voices about what their old teacher did, about how they old teacher liked to build sets, about everything I had specifically said I did not want them to focus on in that moment.

I stopped listening. I shut down. I raised my voice (in a still professional manner, but my frustration was real). And I shut them down. Returned them to their task and felt horrible in silence as they worked.

It is hard being the new teacher, the new theatre teacher, amongst a program that’s filled with students who loved the ways of their former teacher. Students who have a hard time accepting the fact that in some areas I know less, in some areas I function differently, in some areas I learned differently….

Every time I bring something new to the table.  I am questioned. I am reminded that “Ms. so and so did it like this….” “We Ms. so and so didn’t do that…” and so on an so forth.

Every time….I crack a little. I crumble a little. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should stand tall. I should demonstrate what it is to listen, to adapt, to learn, to be open-minded.

But…honestly….this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do. And I’m still learning what it means to be an “expert”. a “teacher”. their “new drama teacher”.


Understanding “understanding”

10:08 p.m. – leaning up against the remnants of a recently torn-up old mattress, my grad school homework at my side.

This semester we’re focusing on building curriculum in a better, more innovative, and learner-centered manner. This involves understanding what it means “to understand” in order to determine what I want my students to understand, so that I may better understand how to create my curriculum.


And yes….I have been reading and writing the word “understand” more than I ever thought I would over the past few weeks.

And yes….I am completely confused. After reading so much about understanding, I no longer think I understand anything.

Nothing. I’ve got nothing.

And somehow – I’m a teacher. A teacher who truly understands nothing and is supposed to cultivate understanding in minds 20 years younger than mine.


Grad school is a mess ya’ll.

I’m gonna leave it at that, for now.

10:12 p.m. going back (maybe) to reading about “understanding”

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