I love drama. I think with a little effort and encouragement I could have been an actor. Of course every teacher has to be a little bit of a ham to stand up in front of a class of strangers and seek to teach them things they don’t really want to know. But in English I get to do that as part of the curriculum. In ENG3U we have just finished a study of Macbeth, so we got to act out a scene. Well, at least the kids did. I get my fix by helping with the blocking. I divide the class into groups of four or five at the beginning of the unit so that everyone will have a speaking part when we get to the end.
It has been my experience that Asians love their drama. From Chinese opera to the melodramas on the telly, Asia is awash in a sea of colourful costumes and public performances. My English class is no exception. Students that struggle to write essays or keep up with their journals come alive when they have the opportunity to memorize some lines and act out a little sword play. Macbeth is famously cinematic with its wicked witches, severed heads, malevolent queen and bloodless ghost, and the students have a lot of fun choreographing the violence.
This year I particularly liked Fuad as the Porter, a bright young man who has almost certainly never seen the bottom of a bottle of scotch, yet did an incredible job playing the drunken wit as if to the bottle born. Another excellent performance was enacted by Zaity who was the gracious hostess one moment, and the demanding and demeaning queen the next. I could go on, but you get the picture. Nearly everybody had their lines, and some of them were word perfect.
That was yesterday. Today we got back down to business reviewing the entire semester in preparation for Friday’s exam, although we did manage to have a few laughs along the way. For some reason this has been a difficult term for me. I think the joy of my daughter’s wedding was a tough thing to come down from, and I have struggled to find my regular sure footing and balance. But despite my deficiencies as a teacher, my students seemed to have learned and grown right in front of my eyes, and I am very proud of all they have accomplished this term.