Rene Roy from the Museum of Science and Industry

Rene Roy from the Museum of Science and Industry

This week on Teaching in the Arts, Rene Roy, Senior Co0ordinator of Guest-Facing Volunteer Programs at the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago.  We had a great discussion about Rene’s career and journey from being an actor and director, to being chair of the Theater Arts Program at National-Lous University for nearly 20 years.

I first met Rene in the early 2000s while he was a producer and on-camera talent at Skylight TV, the in house production arm of Children’s Memorial Hospital.  We get into that fascinating gig, and he tells me when he met Mr. Rogers,  who Rene says was the genuine article.  And if anyone hasn’t seen the Mr. Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, you must check it out.  It’s a great film.

The Lesson of the Day, short and sweet, go vote!  Tomorrow is election day, throw the bums out.  If you are a teacher, talk about it in your classes. It’s a great conversation with Rene, and I learned a lot.  I can’t wait to get lunch with him next week and talk off mics.

And if that’s not enough, basketball legend Bill Russell makes it into the conversation- for reals!  But you have to catch the whole podcast to see how Mr. Russell makes the podcast.

You can listen here:

And for anyone who is interested, I have been slowly but surely been adding videos to what I am calling my film archive.  It goes back to the 1980s and up to present day.  You can check that out here.

Teacher Man

Happy Halloween! This week Ghost Stories and Brad Gyori returns to talk about Shelley’s Heart

Happy Halloween! This week Ghost Stories and Brad Gyori returns to talk about Shelley’s Heart

Happy Halloween week! Way back at the beginning of April Brad Gyori was on the podcast.  You can read the original post and listen here.  When we spoke in April Brad told us of his plans for a production of his Geo-location play, “Shelley’s Heart,”  It goes live on Wednesday, Halloween, so I thought it would be great to have Brad back to discuss the production.  For those of us who can’t travel to Bournemouth, England you can get the entire experience at https://www.shelleysheart.com/sample and I strongly encourage you to do it. It’s interactive, it’s great storytelling, and makes me want to hop on a plane.  Good work Brad!

So it’s Halloween week, and in addition to Brad and Shelley’s Heart, the Lesson of the Day is sharing some of my own personal ghost stories.  First up is my grandmother, Kakky.  She died in 1982, but shows up regularly, and keeps pushing me to finish my horse racing documentary- more on that in a few weeks.  She often shows up in my dining room, every now and then show teases me and pokes her finger in my chest and tells me to keep going.  A couple of Christmases ago, I was at my parents house searching through a folder of financial documents.  We had been talking about Kakky, and there, in the middle of all these papers is this photograph.  There was no logical reason this picture from 1969 should have been there, but there it was.  Kakky wanted us to know she was around.  Hi Kakky.

Teacher Man Ghost Story # 2.

About 2 days before I found the picture of Kakky, our dog Nelson died.  He was the sweetest thing.  I found him chained to a fence in 2005, and he was with us and his big brother, Vishnu, until he died.  About 2 weeks after his death a motion detection light in the backyard went off.  It hadn’t worked in months, and hasn’t worked since.  It was Nelson coming home, I am sure.  And to drive the point home, the iPhone blew up with one of those “memory” things- all photos of Nelson.

And finally, just at this time last year our other dog, Vishnu died.  Vish was “my” dog.  We were close.  Either I was like him, or he was like me.  Stubborn in our ways, a little crotchety, we like to eat, he drank like crazy, we were close.  By the time he died at 15 he was arthritic and drugged up like Keith Richards.  That dog could maintain on all sorts of painkillers and other things.  10 days before his death we went to a dog blessing.  Our groomer, Patty at Bark Bark Club was there and unbeknownst to us, took a picture of Vishnu.  A couple of weeks later I was really sad.  I missed Vish a lot and I didn’t understand why he didn’t come back home like Nelson did.  Just at that time I go get out mail, and in the delivery was a letter- yes snail mail- from Patty with a printed photograph of Vishnu from the dog blessing.  Just when I was wondering where he was, I literally walked in the front door with him one final time.  

Those are my ghost stories.  Happy Halloween.  Listen to the podcast here:
Teacher Man

James Warda from Loyola University Chicago, PLUS a return visit from Free Spirit Media’s Jeff McCarter

James Warda from Loyola University Chicago, PLUS a return visit from Free Spirit Media’s Jeff McCarter

A really big two-part episode this week on Teaching in the Arts.  First up is Jeff McCarter from Free Spirit Media, followed by my main guest is James Warda who teaches with me at Loyola University in Chicago.  We have a really great conversation about being a first time college teacher, about what we are passionate about, and especially bringing a human approach to the work place.

I am not sure it is fair to call James a renaissance man, but here’s a sampling of his work:  He’s the author of the book, Where Are We Going So Fast: Finding the Sacred in Everyday Moments, he writes the Chicago Now Blog by the same name, he plays guitar and sings in The Groove Band and, oh yeah, he is a first time college teacher.  We have a lot to talk about, and it is a great chat.

But before James, at the start of the show, Jeff McCarter from Free Spirit Media returns to share some exciting news.  Jeff was on Teaching in the Arts way back in March, and you can hear that episode here.  Jeff continues his great work at Free Spirit Media, and the organization continues to grow and thrive, and help young people.  A sampling of Free Spirit Media’s recent work is below.

You can listen to Jeff and James here:

Teacher Man

 

https://freespiritmedia.org/inpathways

WGN-TV News Cameraman and Teacher in the arts, Tremaine Williams

WGN-TV News Cameraman and Teacher in the arts, Tremaine Williams

This week on Teaching in the Arts I have a great conversation with Tremaine Williams.  Tremaine is a cameraman for WGN-TV in Chicago, and has also been an on-air reporter for KWQC-TV in Davenport, IA and a “one man band” in Rockford, IL.  I first met Tremaine when I hired him to teach entry level broadcast classes at Tribeca Flashpoint College.

We have a great talk.  Tremaine shares how he got into the business, how he worked hard, and in my opinion mastered the art of getting jobs, and the role mentors played on him.  He also talks about learning from mistakes, and how being a professional makes him a better teacher.

Among other topics, we also discuss some of his favorite (and scariest) stories to cover as a newsman, hint: The Stanley Cup was not one of the scariest stories.

We also talk about being a drone pilot, and his freelance career as a filmmaker outside of WGN.

See some of that work here:

Drug Addiction Unit at Loretto Hospital from Tremaine Williams on Vimeo.

drone work 10-15 from Tremaine Williams on Vimeo.

 

And listen to the podcast here:


Teacher Man

Anne Versnel, Loyola University Chicago Student

Anne Versnel, Loyola University Chicago Student

My guest this week is Anne Versnel, a former student of mine from Loyola University in Chicago.  Anne was in my class last spring, and on the second day she came early and said, “I know you don’t know me, but can I use you as a reference for an internship.”  Two days later she emailed me, reintroduced herself and asked again.  We talk about this on the podcast.

Any regular listener to Teaching in the Arts knows I really like talking to students, and every couple of months I have former students of mine on the podcast, check out Ebbe Bertollotti, Ava Battochio, and Marisa Dickens and Asha Lodhia.  I think getting to know students, and former students makes me a better teacher.

Now back to Anne and this week’s podcast.

While one part of my brain asked, “who is this person?” the other part really appreciated her directness.  You aren’t going to get an internship without going for it, and I recognized that’s what she was doing.

During my course I asked students to create a personal social media project, and Anne created an Instagram account, Here4agoudatime

We discuss this, but also Anne’s experiences at college and how it has informed her.  Also, cooking, eating, exercise and body image.  It’s a great chat, and I appreciate her coming on and being so forthright.

Listen here:

Teacher Man

And follow me here to see Teacher Man’s film work.

http://peterahawley.com

Editor, Voice Over Artist, Teacher in the Arts: Alaric Martin

Editor, Voice Over Artist, Teacher in the Arts: Alaric Martin

This week I have a great conversation with film editor and teacher in the arts, Alaric Martin.  I’ve known Alaric for a decade, but until we got on the mics I never really knew him.  Sure, I knew he had a long, successful career as a TV commercial editor, and I knew he was editing more long form projects including my former student, Kirby Ashley’s documentary Sideline: The History of Chess From a Black Point of View but I didn’t know how he got here.

Right off the start of our conversation Alaric talks about the influence his father, a postman by profession, aspiring painter by night, had on him, and how it got Alaric to think beyond the five blocks of his Southside of Chicago neighborhood.  In our chat Alaric mentions a couple of his father’s paintings and I asked him to send me the pictures you see here.  Listen to the podcast to hear the story behind the paintings.

This is Chicago Lake Michigan and was reproduced from a black and white photograph Alaric’s father saw.

 

 

 

And this is The Baptizing Pond, also done from a black and white photograph.  Alaric tells me he believes this was the pond where his father was baptized.  Each painting is more than 55 years old.

 

 

In the podcast we talk a lot about the TV Commercial business, the influence Tom Burrell and the Burrell advertising agency had on his career, and of course we get around to talking about teaching in the arts.

If this isn’t enough, Alaric also did the voice over for Iron Five the documentary about Loyola’s 1963 NCAA men’s basketball champions, and he just opened up his own editing shop, Epilog Design Media Group.

It’s a great conversation, and just goes to show that you can work with someone for years and not really know them.  I am glad I had the chance to get to know Alaric a little better.

Listen here:

Teacher Man

Teaching in the Arts Special Documentary- Conclusion!

Teaching in the Arts Special Documentary- Conclusion!

We are back with the second and concluding part of the Teaching in the Arts Special Documentary as we follow Andrew Shabat teaching his first college course.

This week I talk with Andrew after his first week of classes,he has a class observation by faculty member Jeff Kliment, we hear Andrew in action as a teacher, the course ends, and we reveal Andrew’s student evaluations “live” on the  Teaching in the Art mics.

If you missed part one, you should review and listen here.

I also want to thank Andrew for allowing me to even try this, it could have been a disaster.  Also, thanks to Jeff Kliment and Yuri Lysoiavanov for participating.

As I said last week, in many ways, this is what this Podcast is all about- how teachers in the arts do what they do.

Listen here:

 
Teacher Man

Teaching in the Arts Special Documentary- part 1

Teaching in the Arts Special Documentary- part 1

That young, handsome guy on the right is Andrew Shabat, the sound engineer for the Teaching in the Arts podcast, but this week and next he is the subject of our special audio documentary as we follow Andrew though his first semester as a college teacher, from teacher training, through student course evaluations.

Anyone who has listened to Teaching in the Arts more than once knows that I am incredibly interested in how teachers do this thing we do- stand up in front of a group of young people and teach them, train them, coach them, prod them, pull them into becoming artists.

I have told my teacher origin story on the podcast a couple of times.  Before my very first class, the course coordinator handed me a syllabus, showed me the text book, and said, “You’re a filmmaker, you know how to do this.”  And that was my “official” prep.  It turned out I misinterpreted an assignment about a collaborative film project.  When a student called me on it midterm,  by asking why all the other sections were doing it differently, I had no answer.  The good news was that my students preferred our way, and in a couple of years the department changed the assignment to how I was doing it.

So now back to the documentary.  When Yuri Lysoivanov, chair of the Recording Arts Department at Flashpoint: A Campus of Columbia College Hollywood was on Teaching in the Arts Andrew asked if there were any adjunct openings.  A few days later Yuri called and offered him a class.  I saw this as a chance to follow a teacher from start to finish of a semester.  the teacher training, the first classes, a course observation by a faculty member, and finally the student evaluations.

This week is part one- Andrew prepares to teach, plus a Skype conversation with his course coordinator- Jeff Kliment.  Jeff tells me about his early teaching experiences as well.  Next week the is the course, Jeff’s observation of a class, and then the pay off on how it all went.  I hope you  like it- it is something different, sort of a two-part, full episode Lesson of the Day.

Speaking of teacher training, yesterday’s (Sept.9) Sunday New York Times Magazine was the education issue with articles such as Can Good Teaching Be Taught? and What Teachers are Doing to Pay Their Bills and Teaching in the Age of School Shootings.  Take a read after listening to Andrew talk about teaching for the first time.

Listen here:


Teacher Man

National Teacher of Arts and Humanities Joseph Lento

National Teacher of Arts and Humanities Joseph Lento

In 2014 President Obama named Joseph Lento a National Teacher of Arts and Humanities, and today Joseph is my guest on Teaching in the Arts. I still haven’t met Joseph, I interviewed him via Skype, but we hit it off immediately.

We have a wide-ranging conversation about his upbringing in the Bronx, and his goal of being a musician, to his work as a teacher.  Joseph has devoted his teaching career to working with students with special needs and disadvantaged students.  As we were talking I kept thinking about Welcome Back Kotter – Joseph taught at his former school for a time.  I also couldn’t get Jimmy Stewart and It’s a Wonderful Life out of my head.  I expect Joseph has had as much impact on his students lives as George Bailey did on the townsfolk of Bedford Falls.

My takeaway quote from the conversation is, “The kids are teaching me so much.”  Joseph also explains why he continues to call his students “kids.”

This episode would not have happened had it not been for Kathy Biehl.  I mentioned Kathy and her podcast, Astroinsight’s. I emailed Kathy, who I have also never met, and she said that her future brother-in-law would make a great guest on Teaching in the Arts.  So, two weeks later, here’s Joseph Lento.  Thank you, Kathy!

From Joseph’s bio:

Joseph is a conservatory trained musician; New York State licensed teacher of orchestral music and school district administration; professional trumpeter; brass and woodwind instructional specialist; professional bandleader; public school music director and a licensed school district administrator whose career began in 1984.

Joseph appears regularly on Manhattan Cable Television (The Hart of New York), LMCTV and various radio programs in the Hudson Valley as an expert on pedagogy and special needs students.

Joseph has published many articles and appeared on numerous TV programs.  I have included some links here.

DistruptED TV Magazine 

Music Never Met a Brain It Couldn’t Help

Neurodiverse Empowerment Through Music

And right here on Teaching in the Arts.

Teacher Man

Sound Designer, Audio Engineer, Author and Teacher in the Arts: Tom Blakemore

Sound Designer, Audio Engineer, Author and Teacher in the Arts: Tom Blakemore

There are a few things that immediately come to mind when I think about Tom Blakemore.  1) Walter Murch, the sound designer and film editor, author of In the Blink of an Eye.  A few years ago we saw Murch speak at a Humanities Conference in Chicago.  2) The Drum and Bugle Corps.  Tom was a member of one as a teenager, and then later in life became a manager of a corps of adult drummers and buglers.  He and I had many discussions about following his group as they went to the nationals in Plymouth, MA.  3) An author.  Tom worked long and hard on his book, Recording Voice Over: The Spoken Word in Media.  We cover all of this and more on this week’s episode of Teaching in the Arts.

One of the things I really enjoy about hosting this podcast is getting to have conversations with folks I know (and many I have never met before) and diving deeper.  For example, I never knew Tom had a career in radio before being a sound designer.  When you hear his voice, it’s kind of obvious he should be behind the mic.  I was pretty certain we would cover the three issues I mention above, but I didn’t foresee discussions about Jean Shepherd, Leonard Bernstein, and Touch of Evil.

It it always good seeing Tom be it at the pet store, the farmer’s market, in the classroom, or behind the mic.  I hope you enjoy the chat.

AND, I need your help.  The Lesson of the Day is actually a request to my listeners to help me out with the reading assignments for one of my fall courses.  I begin teaching in a week, and in one of my courses I have eight chapters of reading I would like to assign.  I also want to make sure they read the material, but I don’t have a ton of class time to go over the readings.  So my solution is to have students write reading responses- critical, self-reflections to the reading, and turn those in.  Each one is work 25 points (on a 1000 point scale.)  Let me know your thoughts, and in the coming weeks I will let you know where I land.

Listen here:

Teacher Man

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