Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An International Perspective Bahar Cetinsoy

An International Perspective Bahar Cetinsoy

My expectations before starting the program…

Eight years of my teaching career, I have always looked for better ways of teaching and reaching every child.  I have always felt that a big piece of the puzzle was missing.
The second year of my career, I was compelled to run English drama clubs as an ESL teacher who had no experience in teaching  theatre.  It was the  year   that magical dust of theatre was sprinkled on me. Instead of the all hard work,  I was so happy and proud when I put the first production of my English Drama club.  Theatre not only helped me to improve my teaching skills but it also enabled me to see true feelings, behaviors and character of my students.
I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to integrate theatre more in my lesson and run drama activities more profesionally. I searched for a program which could combine both theatre and pedagogy, something not only to teach  about theatre but to teach through theatre. After days of searching, I found  the Educational Theatre program at the City College of New York which  I was  extremely happy and screaming of  joy.  I was so timid and hesitant to write to the director of he program, Jennifer Katona, thinking that I , as an international student, could not be eligiable for it. Mrs. Katona’s wrote back as soon as I emailed to get more information. She was very  welcoming and encouring. From that time on, the  application process  had begun till the last step of it, which was online interview with Sobha Kavanakudiyil.  Unlike most of the teachers I’ve had ,  Ms. Kavanakudiyil friendly  and understanding  attitude  eased my  anxiety  and helped me  express myself  better .
Ten days later, my journey of inquiry started with accaptance letter to the City College of New York, Educacational theatre program.

Here I was, the first class…
 I didn’t know I was the first and the only international student in the program. Before  my first class started, I was very nervous. I was thinking if I could grapple with  language challange  as all my friends  were native speakers of English. Meeting my classmates took all my nervousness away. Everybody had pleasant smile on their face as if tryring to tell me that they were happy to  have me there. They have been so encouraging  and collaborative. Whether a teaching artist or a primary school teacher, everybody brought  their experience in to explore  the purpose of education and how drama and theatre  facilitate learning in different settings.
Even though I was owerwhelmed with the reading  load at first week, I enjoyed  all required reading since I  could find answers for my  questions about how education should be .  The more I read, the more I see how much education needs art and theatre integrated in yhe national curriculum. I have seen how much students  can be engaged in learning without feeling fail, how much fun they could have while learning,  how they could  learn from hands on experience, how a physical movement rather than a test, could  be a tool to evaluate students’ understanding.
I  am at the right place with the right adress in my hand and  proud to be the first international student in this program which will pave my way  with the power of theatre to fulfill my dream  for education. 

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