Right now, I’m prepping to teach a theatre class on the near southwest side of Chicago. This is class two of a fifteen week sequence, and I’m still feeling a little unsure of myself. Chicago is a racially segregated city, and the workshop is definitely located outside of my normal stomping grounds. Likewise, almost all of the students are young people of color, and many of them have names I’ve literally never heard before, and have trouble remembering and pronouncing.
In some ways – from a “what doesn’t kill you” standpoint – I think this class will be good for me. It’s definitely testing me as a teacher; the kids do want to be at the class, and are having lots of fun (two of the most important things) but they don’t necessarily have the impulse control that I’m used to with my white, north shore, Jewish, middle/upper class students. I also feel somewhat weird about going to my usual bag of stories and fairy tales, since I don’t want to be bring in texts that have no relevance to them. I also don’t want to be racist by not bringing things in, and providing a less complete class than I otherwise might.