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.