Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank you

Kindergarten: Miss Heartline which we wrote with a heart and a line because we didnt know how to spell. She caught me chewing gum one day and scolded me silently. I still remember that.
First Grade: Miss Buchman. I've heard she's passed away. I remember my favorite Halloween party was in that class.
Second Grade: Mrs. Floehr. One of my favorites of all time. At the age of 7, I learned how to be sarcastic, loving, and disciplinary at the same time. I remember her writing my name on the board when I did something bad. God, I hated getting my name on the board. And a checkmark? Crap!
Third Grade: Ms. Fyffe. The first year of what we would know about standardized tests. Also, Christmas Carol with George C Scott came out that year and we read the script along with the movie. The first of 3000 scripts I would read with passion.
Fourth Grade: Miss Orsborne. I thought I was sneaky and changed a punctuation mark on a quiz and she gave me credit for it. I still remember that. I actually feel bad about that. I also remember making the largest Indian Burial ground as a project. We also watched the Challenger explosion in that class.
Fifth Grade: Mr. Cook. Finally a male teacher! Woody Hayes died while I was in fifth grade. We played the longest game of taking wagons across the country on a big map on the wall. I remember my wagon made it across safe. I remember decorating pumpkins and having to write a creative story about the pumpkin and its personality. I also remember that damn movie about making doughnuts and how it changes if you type in 100 and add a zero it makes 1000. The hilarity came from those 900 extra doughnuts!! It made me crave doughnuts the rest of my life. Started playing guitar that year.
Sixth Grade: Mrs. Hoeflinger. One of my favs. Still keep in touch with her to this day. Started playing trumpet that year. Made a video about something which she'll remember. Ah, 1987. The invention of the VHS. I remember her saying she knew Mandy Fox was going to be a great actress back in 6th grade. I wanted the same kind of compliment. I craved it.
Ms. Haddad and Mrs. Fullen: My art teachers through elementary school. Mrs Fullen implanted the music bug in me. Ms. Haddad let me learn the concept of creating. Which I took hold and went crazy with it.
Middle School: Ah, puberty. Learned sex education. Learned the physical aspects of it. They left out all of the emotional and mental bullshit that comes along with it. Mrs. Christianson had Pat and I do my first real acting scene. I was Tom Cruise from Rain Man... of course I was. We did Christmas Carol in 8th grade. Pat was Ebenezer Scrooge. I had a bit part. I was pissed. Not at Pat, but taught me early that this business sucks.
High School: Mr and Mrs Brenneman. The two people who I hate more than anyone because they made me become addicted to this thing we call performing. They took me at a time where I was slightly interested, and flooded me with music, theater, performing, and learning that art was more than just getting applause. The music and theater program at my high school was/is more advanced and more organized than a lot of colleges around the country. I remember Robin taking me into her office and giving me her honest opinion about who I was as an actor and my possibilities. She told me once I found myself and my own voice, I would be unstoppable. We did more literature, concerts, plays, programs, events, entertainment, and practice time in high school than some actors do in a lifetime. They are 2 of my closest friends in the world.
It was here that Mr. Shepard let me have free reign in my creative writing class. Ms. Chase challenged me every day to not just memorize the facts about politics, but actually know it. Mr. Winland gave me cramps in my writing hand, Mrs. Bower taught me comprehension, Mrs. Vance taught me the superiority of technical design and professional expectations (and accepted nothing less than perfection in my writing), Mr. Smith and Mr Blackstone taught me the basics of the gym and health which I use to this day, Mrs Hensley and Mrs O'Shaughnessy who I owe everything and more to, Mr Snider, Mrs Felch and Mr Bay who taught me that I'll hate math for the rest of my life, and Mr K and Mrs Gottliebson who taught me stuff about theater that has stayed with me all these years.
Dr Johnson at Otterbein College who I feel I owe my life, success, and my first child to. Not only did he teach me about music, but how to live life as an artist. How to run a class, expect the best out of people, and not to accept shit from students who should be doing better. Ed Vaughan, Dennis Romer, John Stefano, Chris Kirk, Stella, and Robert Behrens taking a guy who worked off his instincts and knew the rough outline of acting and trying to make something of me.
Now I'm back in school, as a grad student. In just a few months, I've dusted off the cobwebs and learned how to go about learning to develop my craft again. Thank you Kate Ingram, Tad Ingram, Chris Niess, Be Boyd, Julia Listengarten, Earl Weaver, Jim Brown, and Mark Brotherton for taking a chance on this 35 year old and beating the crap out of my bad habits and showing me new ways of looking at things that I've been studying for decades. A special shout out to David Lee who I was fortunate enough to TA for and left the semester with a stronger vocabulary, literature compilation, and being able to talk NY theater and art with a familiar Hell's Kitchen citizen. Even though I didn't even participate in the class, his words and lessons penetrated this sponge of knowledge I'm dealing with and just showed me you never know who you're affecting as a teacher.
That's the point of this blog. Here are a list of teachers and professors that have changed my life and educated me in order for me to change others. I didn't even go through the teachers I had to get my personal training certification, my acting coaches, voice coaches, audition coaches, etc. There is a power that teachers possess that is magical. We're all going to leave this earth one day. What are we going to leave on this earth is what is important. Teachers do that. They have so many students they don't realize what word, sentence, lesson, or advice they give that changes the path of a student forever. Teachers should get paid like athletes and actors. If you're really really good, you should be making 20 million a year. Thank you for every minute that every teacher has ever spent with me. I'm grateful for everything you have done for me and hope every student that has sat in front of you appreciates you as much.

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