as a Site for Interdisciplinary Inquiry
Beyond geography, language, or tradition, communities are defined by members’ willingness to understand and help each other achieve positive change. My classroom is a community of scholars, one that asks students to engage in difficult discussions concerning race, class, gender, and politics, with care and confidence. I value feelings of “safety,” for they are conducive to encouraging the inherent risk that comes with opening oneself to new ideas. Because theatre often dwells in an ambiguous space between academic subjects, I ask students to embrace liminality and discomfort, viewing moments of cognitive tension as opportunities for productive learning. Most importantly, I am proud of my ability to introduce challenging subjects, nurture research skills, and transform a group of students into a cohort of supportive, curious scholars.
One of the most common difficulties of teaching performance studies to non-majors is that many students do not understand how to read a dramatic text. Theatre is quite possibly the most interdisciplinary of all academic subjects, for it asks participants to have an understanding of literary analysis, history, embodiment, and dramatic lineage. Through these actions, I want students to understand the variety of ways in which we learn and present information. I strive to privilege underrepresented voices when forming my syllabi. I can proudly state that the reading list for a syllabus I recently curated is comprised entirely of works written by BIPOC, and predominantly features women. Similarly, I often design writing prompts that promote tolerance and intercultural understanding. It is my fervent belief that through education, we can undo the damage of systemic injustice that disadvantages so many throughout our nation. I have an urgent desire to help students find meaning in our assignments and discussions, and strive to do so through evaluative conversations that aid me in preparing future units. I often pose questions such as, “How is this text related to contemporary politics?,” and encourage students to post memes or other popular culture references to our online learning page.
I value honesty when it comes to education. Over my career as a student and educator, I have come to appreciate instructors who are candid about their lives and reasonably flexible when it comes to the lives of their charges. One of my closest mentors always reminds me to “make the kind choice” when it comes to teaching, encouraging me to prioritize the humanity of my students above all.