My First Semester in the MATMargaret Gorman (MAT 2011)
A good friend of mine likes to tease me about my first visit to Willamette's Graduate School of Education. A veteran of auditions, I always bring my A game (and some good lipstick) to all first meetings. I sat straight-faced across from Heather Daniels, the fabulous Director of Admissions, and told her that I knew if given the chance and the right education, I would "change the world through theatre education." My friend likes to tell this story as an example of my supreme hubris as well as my devotion to the performing arts, but I think "changing the world" might not be the craziest goal to come to out of my MAT program.
Since Aug 16th of this year, I have worked my butt off every day. The MAT program is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. My classmates and I work long hours and are never quite done with all our homework. But slowly, our amazingly intelligent and caring professors are shaping us to go out and change the future of the American educational system and I think it's quite possible that we will change the world.
It's not all rainbows and unicorns, however. There have been tears and late study sessions and even a couple of heated discussions. But there have been karaoke nights, and group hugs and inside jokes and even a private Facebook page to share all our ups and downs.
In my classmates I see the future of education; I see middle schoolers loving every day of math class, I see high school language arts students writing at the college level, I see every American student becoming fluent in at least one foreign language, I see physical education changing minds as well as bodies. And this clairvoyant look into the future spurs me on to work harder, stay up later, and not give up.
My first semester in the MAT program has given me the tools to take my rough idealism and ridiculous energy and ground it with reflective teaching practices, thoughtful approaches to pedagogy and subject matter, and classmates and staff who've become lifelong friends. So now when I tell people I plan on changing the world through theatre education, they don't laugh. They hear the dedication in my voice, they see the intention in my eyes, and they know as well as I do that with the right education, changing the world is not only possible, it's my plan.