What I love most about being an educator is that every day is a performance of improvisational theatre. Yes, there are schedules and lesson plans. But everything else is spontaneous.
In order for this to make sense, hand white boards to a group of first graders. The independent and creative ones (usually girls) will draw pictures of girls, often in exotic locations.
The boys are generally competitive, jumping directly into tic-tac-toe. It never matters who wins. What matters is finishing the game, erasing the boards and getting to the next round.
Frequently, we have the OCD type who will scurry around the room, putting things in order and scolding those who create messes. What’s magical is that usually, no-one directs this lead actress, The Cleaner. She is self-appointed and resolute in her duties.
Another role is the foil character. He bounces when he should be still, talks when he should be silent and touches those who don’t want to be touched. This is always the lead actor.
And we have the director who is in charge of everything. He or she watches the clock, rebukes offenders and always does what should be done, according to the teacher’s plans.
One of the scenes that I love most has magnetism as its center. Give a child a book, make myself available (usually that consists of simply being there and responsive) and kids are magnetically attracted.
Where do spiders live? What’s a safari? Have you ever been to Disneyland? Did you know that Magic Mountain is haunted? Have you seen Star Wars?
It’s obvious that the kids are unrestricted, uninhibited and unconditional. What’s so beautiful about this form of improv is that the dialogue is painlessly delivered and eternally changing. Put all of them together and theatre erupts. My job is merely to maintain safety, provide positive reinforcement and occasionally offer information. Maybe I am the producer. Maybe I am the choreographer. Undoubtedly, I am the editor. Shalom.