February 4, 2009

High School Theater and Community

One reason I decided to become a teacher is that I was drawn toward the sense of community one gets by working in a school. By contrast, the business world is made up of “rational maximizers of self-interest” (not my phrase, but one that I like). I worked within corporations for six years during and after college and was somewhat depressed about the individualistic attitude of the whole thing. Schools aren’t like that.

The school’s drama club performed a production of The Secret Garden by Marsha Norman. I’ve been involved with community theater in the past and thought it would be fun to see this. It was amazing. The actors, singers, musicians, and crew were incredibly talented.

When I was at the play, I recognized actors and musicians from some of my classes. All of these actors and musicians were supported by an engaged audience of parents, teachers, siblings, and friends. Where can you find that kind of support in the business world? You can’t.

I was encouraged by the amount of support that the school gave to these performers. But the sense of community went beyond that. In the audience, I was able to talk with some other teachers that I work with during the day and meet some of the parents. In business, the culture is usually “what can you do for me”, but at this play, the attitude was “look what we’re doing together”. It’s really a completely different approach to life, one that I find much more fulfilling.

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