As I watch this controlled chaos, kids are missing, coming in late, missing their lines, forgetting their cues, and generally being, well, middle schoolers. Ms. Burke never loses patience. She never yells, unless it's to show a kid how to project their voice or to give encouragement. It looks to me like an octopus trying to nail jello to a wall with a tennis racket. But in the midst if this weirdness, Ms. Burke stands grinning and being perfectly in control.
I have done community theatre with Jen Burke for years. I know her to be a tough but talented director who demands dedication and maximum effort from her adult volunteer cast members. But watching her work with these kids is one of the main reasons I keep volunteering to do this show. As a teacher, I know how hard it is to control this many teenagers, much less make them comfortable enough to perform in front of an audience while memorizing their lines.
This woman is a teacher. She is not doing test prep or Common Core. She is building a community of young people who will go into their futures with confidence and leadership. Too bad that isn't on the test.
And I hope she will forgive me for writing this blog entry instead of learning my lines.