When you step in the building and pass the students to the left and right…show time has already begun. The lights come on in the classroom and the desks are arranged in order. The first class comes in with all kinds of energy;
“Hey girl, how you doin’?”
“Girl, did you catch the BET Hip Hop Awards last night…you know Drake was lookin’ good…”
“Whassup dude, what’s goodie?”
“Yo, shawty, come here for a sec…yo girl you wearin’ them jeans.”
And after all of the side conversations, awkward kissing scenes between high school lovers, and locker slams, it’s time for you to perform! When the teacher officially commands attention of the class, students’ faces turn and wait for instruction. The moment the teacher begins teaching the lesson all theatrical elements come into play. Teachers perform tricks, excite the senses, dazzle the students and hopefully reach a goal by the end of the lesson.
A few weeks ago, I taught a lesson for a Journalism class at School of the Arts. The class was comprised of seniors and the teacher wanted to prepare them for their Senior Exiting Interview. My cooperating teacher asked if I would teach the lesson. She said, “You can be as creative as you like…you can use dolls or cut outs…” Personally I was thrilled because this is the type of teaching I think is useful for everyone.
The lesson was called “The Dressing for Success Show.” I wanted to present the lesson as a talk show to get the students to ask whatever questions they might have, create different personas, and create a space where students can see the importance of “successful” attire. As a group, we were able to discuss a myriad of things; students learned about the first “noted” person to wear high heeled shoes and examined the price of a suit for an interview.
Students were able to take the journey with me as the host, “Double AA” and the guests were able to embellish the various stories given to them. The stories or “dressing for success” issues we explored were attire for an interview, first date impressions and everyday attire especially placing an emphasis for the school environment. The questions and the engagement from the students was a pleasure in the classroom, but of course my vivid expressions, hilarious body gestures, and off-beat humor added to their engagement.
A few days after the lesson, one of the students said to me, “Miss Anderson I really appreciated the lesson on dressing for success…my interviewer really liked my outfit!”