I started a new residency this week at a new school. To sum up the gist of my job, I basically show Kindergarten-5th grade teachers how to integrate the arts into their curriculums. There’s a lot more to it, but for sake of not boring anyone, I’ll leave it at that. I love my job, it can be exhausting at times, but I get to work in something theatre-related and teach the next generation of students. I have a tendency to get attached to my students. What can I say? I’m a sucker for hugs, high-fives, handshakes, and toothless smiles. I love seeing this kids grow from being shy children to completely letting go on stage and becoming a character. I especially love training teachers and seeing them grow and develop and become phenomenal artists, whether they realize it or not.
Anyway, today I had a student whose a four-limb amputee (for the sake of the internet, his name is going to be omitted). I’ve worked with kids with special needs on a regular basis, even working with children with autism and having them perform Shakespeare and Moliere on stage. These kids I especially have a soft spot for because they are the most creative artists and they surprise me so much with the things they come up. And not to mention how genuinely happy they are to be a part of a group and feel included by their peers. While it’s trying, it’s very special and I consider it a privilege and an honor. I end up learning a lot each time. I learn about myself and what it is to be human.
My student whose a four leg amputee really excelled in theatre today. We worked with mirror activities and I taught them how to warm up and this student truly led by example. Even though he was missing his limbs, the movements he created were amazing. I would have thought he was a modern dancer. The way he expressed himself and took the plunge into all the activities was astounding.
Before we got into the activities, I was talking to the kids about imagination and how actors can be whatever they want to be. They use their imaginations to become characters and be able to do things they usually can’t do in reality, or so they think.
The student asked with wide eyes and a smile, “Can I even be a superhero?”
Yes, student…while you may not know it yet, you are already a superhero.