First Day of Classes
Both my classes had their first real sessions today. My new performance class is preparing to study selected works of Anna Deavere Smith, and the course will focus on performance work that explores themes of social justice. Today, they wrote in their journals a list of what they had heard or learned about being female in the world (I teach at a single gender school for girls), and then they created a male character (of any age) talking about girls or women. Each student then performed her piece, and we discussed the patterns, myths, and stereotypes presented of both genders through their pieces. I am excited to see where this work evolves, especially as we move into characters that defy or challenge the perspectives of gender as either boy or girl.
My speech students read excepts from Bone Black by bell hooks, and I am always thrilled to introduce my young women students to her work! They’re writing their own personal narrative speeches as a first assignment.
“…I can tell him, my grandfather who loves me always, that I want to belong—that it hurts to be always on the outside. He tells me there are a lot of ways to belong in this world. And that it is my work to find out where I belong.
At night, when everyone is silent and everything is still, I lie in the darkness of my windowless room, the place where they exile me from the community of their heart, and search the unmoving blackness to see if I can find my way home. I tell myself stories, write poems, record my dreams. In my journal I write—I belong in this place of words. This is my home. This dark, bone black inner cave where I am making a world for myself.” ~ bell hooks, Bone Black
I taught in a coed setting for many years, but there is something so wonderful about the all girl class setting and the conversations my students share with me that remind me, on days like this, why I love my job so much!