One of the best things, for me, as a teacher, is getting the opportunity to know a bunch of people who have the potential to do great things for the world. (I sometimes feel that this is especially true here at Colegio Bolivar where most of the kids already have a proverbial leg up, socially and economically, on much of the population.) While I get to interact and know students in my classroom, anyone who was in an extra-curricular activity or sport outside of the school day knows that the interactions there are on a different level.
Simply put: I miss coaching. Schools in North America are really the only ones with credible school teams. In other parts of the world, Colombia included, while a school may have a team, most kids consider their real team to be their club organization. Bolivar has an elementary swimming team but they "train" minimally and have a couple meets (two maybe?). Kids who get seriously into the sport end up joining a club and that is the end of it. The same goes for soccer, tennis, and golf. There is a basketball and baseball program but it seems as limited as the swimming one.
Back to the topic of missing being involved in extra-curriculars, I have been assisting with the school's musical production that takes place every other year. I was never involved with drama in high school myself, however did serve as a violinist in the pit orchestra for several shows. I don't act, I don't choreograph, I have little choir experience, although I pretend to be able to sing. Somehow I've been allowed to assist with this year's production of "All Shook Up." My official title is Assistant to the Director but none of us really know what that means.
The show is a reinterpretation of Shakespeare's play "12 Night" but set in the 1960's and consisting entirely of songs originally sung by Elvis Presley. The cast and other directors are great and I've had a blast working with and learning from them the last few months. We open on March 5th but we are surprisingly on schedule and relatively calm, although the energy is palpable.
I am also loving the diverse group of kids that are involved in the production. Obviously, there are a few "theatre kids" - you know the ones I'm talking about! But there are also many who have no stage experience, or just started singing for this production. Also, just about half of the male dancers are on the varsity soccer team! (It helps when one of the star player's girlfriend is also a dancer and he cajoles his teammates to help him out.)
We had our official cast photo taken recently. Here is the cast, directors, musicians, dancers, and choir:
This last one is the of the directors:
L-R: Me, Patricia (Pato) - choreographer, Juliana - producer, Moraima (Mori) - musical director, Josh - dramatic director.
Mori and I will be the only ones at the first full technical rehearsal next Friday. I've been trying to soak up as much wisdom from everyone else so that when that monster of a day comes I won't be, well, all shook up.
(To Be Continued...)