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Drama teacher trying to teach tech...

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Schniapereli, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

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    Location:
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    So, our shop teacher retired, and our school hasn't really gotten someone to entirely fulfill the position. We did manage to get the TD from the local community theatre to come and help occasionally, but he is not too unreliable, since his TD job will always come first.

    So, our drama teacher is taking over. She is making the decisions, and doing the grades as of now. This made many people nervous. First thing she did was eliminate one of the stagecraft classes, and so we have 18 people in the one class left.
    She then made a requirement of everyone to bring their own measuring tape, (which was a little odd since we had plenty) and then she told everyone they had to bring their own brooms. Everyone thought she was joking. She said they didn't have to be push brooms. So, we would have had 18 people all sweeping with crappy brooms. I spoke to her and she saw no problem with the idea. As if we couldn't find anything better to do with our time then have 18 people do a 2 or 3 person job.
    She just has no concept of time. She spends the first half hour (yes, 30 minutes) explaining what everyone is doing. She will not let anyone go unless everyone knows exactly what they are doing, and what everyone else is doing. We then have 30 minutes to do it.
    It should only take 3 minutes to get everyone to work (and it happens that way when I am in charge)

    I respect her position and I talk to her about her choices (I convinced her to not make the brooms a requirement) but she is still wasting a lot of valuable time, and we have a lot of things to do, especially with the loss of another building and 3/4 of our storage. Not only is she inefficient, but she has irrational design decisions, like her new rule of making EVERY flat out of muslin, which, aside of being pathetic in the first place, they get invariable torn by the actors' carelessness.

    How do I tell her that everything she is doing is wrong? Many of the crew members are considering leaving, and we are shorthanded already. She has absolutely no experience, and none of us even trust her with a pair of scissors. How can she even consider herself to be qualified?
     
  2. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    Wow... The drama teacher at our high school teaches our Tech class, but technically our TD and carpenter run the class. Whenever she does something silly, like during our awards ceremony thing, she started yelling to the booth while on the stage because somebody turned off his wireless mic and we fixed it by just turning the lights off on her.

    We have the same half-an-hour "here's what we're doing thing" and I must agree, it's irritating. Muslin flats make me sad...

    You guys should get the brooms, and then put them in her office and be like, oh, we don't know where they came from... >.>

    I would say either ignore her idiocy, because truthfully none of the kids in my tech class listen to the drama teacher. Somehow we've all learned to tune her out, especially when she knows nothing of which she speaks. If you don't want to do that find a gentle way to tell her that she needs to lighten up and let you guys do your thing (it seems that you already have had some good negotiating experience with her), technicians to my knowledge are usually self-driven and can get things done without being told. If the above do not work talk to someone in administration about it and bring the rest of your crew, I promise that there is power in numbers. Even if you go in there alone, one complaint is usually enough to arise suspicion.

    (PS Replace all the scissors in her office and surrounding are with Play-doh scissors...)
     
  3. loki

    loki Member

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    We do a similar thing, we have teachers incharge of audio, lighting and visual but students ultimatly make the calls, as i said to our head of campus, "You have the teachers make all these decisions, but in the end were the ones who carry them out, therefore we should have input."

    If i were you, Ignore her, Or you can pretend to listen while doing what you need to do. (its always worked for me)
     
  4. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Well it sounds like your drama teacher doesn't know what she's doing...my drama teacher doesn't teach our shop class (we don't even have a tech class, and only have drama class on years when our principal feels like it). But my teacher knows how to operate almost everything. (although it is up to me to teach everyone the tools, and equipment)
    I would say you and the entire crew should stick together and all complain. and if that doesn't work, do like loki says to do, pretend to listen!
     
  5. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

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    Location:
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    We have taught her, the helping TD has taught her, and the wood shop teacher has taught her. She knows the names of each tool and home to measure everything, but she still just seems to be lacking the common sense. She just has a bizarre aspect of set and construction. Actors and tech have both found her designs to be...interesting... (and not the good Tim Burton interesting, the "My kindergarten scenery was more creative than that" interesting.)

    I probably will talk to the administration. It's just that when I talk about her, I am full of despisement, but when I talk to her, I find her to be more like a lost puppy than an ignorant stubborn one. But, whatever her reasons are, she is still in the way of the crew reaching their potential. I just have a hard time figuring out how to say that to her face...
     
  6. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I would have to second Charc's statement. The only other thing is to help somehow educate your administration, but I'm not sure how you go about that as a student. As a teacher, I have spent plenty of time working with my admins so that they understand safety, maintenance, and time demands in the theater, including talking them all into skimming through Dr. Doom's book. If they understand what's required in a room like a theater, it may help them to hire a technically proficient person. But, as has been said before, most places don't require a theater teacher to have any sort of technical background, and you get what you get. The teacher before me was barely a teacher, and more of an actor, and you can run with that image of her in the shop.

    I like the brooms. I almost required everyone to supply their own paint brush this year, because I'm tired of replacing them, but I think I may stick brooms in next year's syllabus. Just to see if anyone still reads it.
     
  7. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Anybody want to donate your teachers to my school? Take a look at the punching bag if you don't believe me. Our clueless auditorium manager is trying to get rid of the crew. His rational being we tend to do things without permission. I wonder why! And that is for the ones that we really don't have permission. I got in trouble for working on a show with out the show directors permission-- which could have been bad had it been true! However it was not, in fact she was paying me to do it (He didn't talk to her before getting the department chair to give me a 30 minute lecture)!!!!!!! Seriously, if it were up to him nobody's shows but his would happen. He will yell at me for doing something without a qualified teacher there (there was a teacher- she just didn't meet his standards) because it isn't safe, then the next week he will leave me ther by myself doing the same thing without anyone there.

    A few years ago when our crew basically ran the program there were almost NO problems. Now with all the "supervision" there are tons.
     
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    That's awful. What can you do? You either a) have to live with it or b) quit. Now, obviously, you don't want to quit, so what can you do to live with it? I don't know exactly what the duties of your auditorium manager are, and how it compares to the duties of others (show director) but maybe you can push for a tech director? (And if you do have a tech director, then get him/her involved in this.)
     
  9. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Yeah. know how that feels. Old ppl and computers are bad enough. i spent about an hour yesterday trying 2 teach our head of drama to take lyrics out of a mp3. and in the end i gave up. Also at xmas i got really pissed at a teacher that took over vision mixing because he decieded he knew what he was doing. pissed me off no end. to see the show i worked so hard on look crap. so basicly you can alternatley you can go on strike. this was considered at our school to. just to not turn up at a crucial moment. and have them begging you to come back. Becuse lets face it. us techs rock.
     
  10. loki

    loki Member

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    Where do i start to correct this post! Watch your spelling, grammar and language nick. Also, Many people on this site are "old" so lets aviod "Old ppl and computers are bad enough"

    Though i must admit, The teacher in charge at our school is fairly much the same as the one Schniapereli described
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  11. Schniapereli

    Schniapereli Active Member

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    Location:
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    That's weird that all your descriptions of teachers are so close to mine. In the area I live in, all the neighboring schools have techs as their teachers. (Strong in tech, and a little weaker in acting) Our school does really well in drama competitions, but not in our "tech olympics" competitions. (until last year)

    They are usually good people. I mean, I've complained about my teacher a lot here, but I am very good friends with her. But, it is just really hard to work for her because she doesn't know what to do, but most importantly, doesn't let us (who know what to do) do it.

    I just taught my teacher how to drag and drop icons on the computer last year, and then how to drag and select multiple icons. (It took a while for her to grasp the difference.) You would think that at that point you would recognize a problem in your technical understandings, and learn to delegate, and trust... It seems a lot more schools have this problem than I thought...
     
  12. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Schniapereli, I am going to play devil's advocate here. You have stated that your teacher has learned a lot from you and the visiting TD but she is still restrictive. Since the teacher is directly responsible for your safety along with everyone else in the theater, she may be limiting you based on her comfort level as a supervisor (which also correlates to the auditorium manager also posted about). I understand your frustration, it will not go away except with a few select employers. I agree that you need someone who can properly mentor you in the technical arts; hopefully you will impress upon the administration to get someone for you.

    As for your gripes about sets, you've answered some of it already, she's not a designer. I would hope that she would use this opportunity to help you and your classmates develop your portfolios by letting you design the shows. This of course would not allow you free reign since she would still need to supervise the implementation but may allow for more creativity. The muslin flats may have something to due with budget constraints (besides her lack of experience).

    I'm glad to hear that you have a good relationship with your teacher, that is important. Remember that this isn't what she studied and probably isn't what she planned on doing so bear with her. Invite her to join this forum and get advise from the professionals and other teachers here (she may be more accepting that way).

    Hope this helps you get a better school year.
     

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