Maddie, one of New York City Children’s Theater’s amazing teaching artists, gives us insight into the ARC program and how it has changed her over the past two years. 

This is my second year as a facilitator for the ARC program. Over the past two years I have had the pleasure of working with students and teachers in Jamaica, Queens and in the Bronx.

The ARC program is one of the most challenging and rewarding programs I have facilitated for with New York City Children’s Theater. I had never worked in a shelter before this program. It was the first time I had been exposed to trauma-informed training. I felt nervous and completely overwhelmed walking into my first class. Will the students want me there? Were the activities I had created enough to hook the class into creating a small piece of theatre based on the story I had brought in?

These students reminded me how important play is. They taught me that you can find joy in any experience. Their laughter and imaginations had made visiting every Friday something to look forward to at the end of a long week.

Throughout this residency in Jamaica, Queens, all of these thoughts that were first swirling around my head became quiet. The DOE teachers were so kind and supportive of the students and were excited to participate in the games I had brought. These students reminded me how important play is. They taught me that you can find joy in any experience. Their laughter and imaginations had made visiting every Friday something to look forward to at the end of a long week.

I learned how flexible you need to be as a facilitator. There were so many times where I would change or adjust my lesson plan based on how many students were present. There is something so important in honoring where the students are coming from. Checking in at the beginning of each class is something that I have taken with me to each of my own in school and after school programs. It allows me to take in what is actually happening in the room and give the students and sometimes teachers a way to express how their day has been leading up to the class.

This post is one in a series of posts from some of our incredible ARC teaching artists.

Ingrid

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