What do you do?
Where do you work and what is your title?
Coronado High School. I teach English and drama. I’m also the artistic director of CHS Main Stage Productions and the Drama Club sponsor.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
I teach 11th grade Honors English, so I need to challenge those kids with literature and writing, and also do my part to prepare them for ACT, SAT, college in general, and English courses their senior year.
As far as my Drama classes, I am constantly changing my curriculum to meet the needs of my theatre students - from beginning students to my four-year veterans of either acting or technical theatre. Each year, we do a different "theme" for Tech and Advanced and Main Stage. Last year it was "everything Shakespeare or loosely related" - for example, we did “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “West Side Story,” “Twelfth Night” and a spoof on “Macbeth” called “Mmmbeth.” The kids learned so much - especially how "purists" react to their Shakespeare being parodied.
This year is "Contemporary American Drama" - I wanted the kids to have some "must reads" for their repertoires, so we're doing scene work by Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Peter Shaffer, just to name a few. Our musical this year is Cole Porter's “Can-Can.” You can't get more "classic" than Cole Porter (even if “Can-Can” is set in 19th century Paris).
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
I was a substitute for two years, taught drama at Sierra for three years, and now am in my ninth year here at Coronado. So... 14 years??
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
It would be difficult to pick one thing. I love how well I get to know my students and how long those relationships last. I love when “synchronicity” happens and what we are studying starts showing up everywhere. I love when they really feel like they belong, and I have provided them with that place. I love when kids learn how to solve problems on their own. And I love that moment when I am sitting out in the audience and one of my actors does something brilliant, and it's something I would have never thought of. I love those moments.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
I would make Coronado a place where people trust each other – whether it is student to student, teacher to teacher, you name it. I know it's a stretch and... I'd like to be able to leave my door unlocked.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
The emotional impact/ stress it has on me. I work daily to separate my personal life from my professional life. I worry about school far too much after I've put in my 11-hour days. Thank goodness I'm married to a therapist!
What makes working on the Westside special?
The community is so different than anywhere else. I love how Old Colorado City runs right into downtown. It is the perfect environment for actor types! I also love how the beauty of the mountains and the Garden of the Gods surrounds our school.
“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.