It’s Janaury. How has the time gone so fast? We started the third quarter recently and I find myself tidying up my gradebook, chasing down an assignment or two, and generally scrambling to get back in the swing of things after break. I feel this week has gone at a breakneck pace and my schedule is unlikely to let up any time soon. When I see the slight bags under my eyes from fatigue or feel the twinge in my back when I finally get home in the late evening, I think to myself that these are the trappings of the first year teacher.
This first week back has been particularly hard as I lost my grandfather on New Year’s Day and the shock of it has not yet left me. I have had to dig deep and find new resolve in my classes. How do you keep a smile on your face and fun in your rehearsals, when inside everything hurts? Heaping personal tragedy atop the challenges of just being a first year-teacher wasn’t exactly what I had planned for this year. But I’m here now and I have to find a way to make it work, even if I would rather curl up in bed and pull the covers over my head for the next five months. And the students do provide many moments of unexpected joy or real laughter—moments that make me forget the knot of pain in my chest. It is in these moments that I am glad to be a theatre person. Theatre really is a family. A place to find support, but also to forget your troubles for awhile. Even at my grandfather’s visitation, I was reminded of this. So many old show friends came and we tearfully laughed at old memories of the times we shared onstage and off. My problems may not be easily sewn up in a two hour plot line, but can be overcome by the joy and love I feel working in the theatre.