Scott Evenbeck, our college's president, suggested Clay Drinko as an artist in residence for this pilot program. Clay is an actor whose background and speciality is Improv Acting.
Upon contacting Clay for this program, through a few emails we realized that Clay is currently the after-school Drama teacher at the high school where I worked for 10 years before coming to Guttman. Small world!
Clay had done some work with our peer mentors at Guttman; he had a familiarity with our students that worked in his benefit when he walked into the classroom. But I have a feeling that Clay could work with any student population. His enthusiasm and energy are contagious, and I witnessed reluctant students get pulled into this activities as if they simply could not resist.
It wasn't the topic of Improv Acting, it was Clay's classroom presence.
Everything he did or said had a positive spin to it which encouraged students to try and try again each activity he proposed. He naturally interjected lessons amid these activities. He kept the class moving at a good pace and students never lagged--not even for a second. I have always thought of teaching as a performance, but I could *see* how his performance background made for an amazing classroom experience for the students. I, too, was captivated and had to keep myself in my chair taking notes because I just wanted to jump in and work with the students.
I watched this group of students become a cohesive and supportive unit over three classes. It was very powerful, and the students felt it, too. A great, great week.