Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Look at Shakespeare

In June, '09, I explained why I had stopped teaching Shakespeare, a course I had taught for something like thirty consecutive years.  In fact from time to time students would mistakenly call me Mr. Shakespeare.  My fellow Shakespeare Society members called me "Shake 'n Bake".

I thin kthat some folks who didn't read this blog may assumed that I had become so enraptured by educational technology that I had no more time for more soulful pursuits.  But my reasons were quite different-- I had not become tired of Shakespeare.  I had become tired of myself.  I felt I had become a kind of entertainer:

I had the sense in class that I was performing. All modesty aside, these were good performances, but I could almost see myself teaching as I taught (not good). 

Well,  I think I am ready to go backI have been sounding out members of the drama department about teaching a Shakespeare class that would combine literature study with dramatization.  If they agreed, I believe, we might create one of the most popular courses in the school.  Regardless, I think I could make the course far more experiential even if they did not want to help me rebuild the class.  In other words, I have new ideas.  Time has given me a fresh approach to the Bard.  He didn't need it; I did.

Who knows what the next school year will bring.  But if it brings Shakespeare, I am ready to end my separation and recommit to my old flame.


admsing said...

That would be wonderful, Larry.
Both Patty and Mary benefited so much from your class when they went on to an acting program in college. I was sad to think that Maggie Malaney might not get the same experience. I am sure both of my girls could give you insight into how they are experiencing Shakespeare in school now.

Larry Baker said...

Your girls had so much to offer the class, too. Many of us are rooting for Shakespeare to make a strong comeback this year in one guide or other!

Lynn Waldsmith said...

Sign me up! Seriously, I would love to take a class like this. I had my fill of Shakespeare courses in college and I teach R&J every year, but I never grow tired of the Bard.

Susan said...

I think it is time to look at cross-departmental connections for lots of courses at Mercy. In a school the size of Mercy, it is not good to just add classes without looking at the overall impact on enrollment and curriculum. I think that the CBL experience is inspiring some other pairings in addition to the Shakespeare one.

Larry Baker said...

Susan, departmentalization (a legacy of the "industrial design" model of education) creates a bureaucratic drag on the curriculum. It also stifles creative thinking.

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