Ashley Newman began her work as a Teaching Artist with Roundabout this season. She attended Roundabout’s Theatrical Teaching Institute in August, where she was introduced the Theatrical Teaching Framework. The Theatrical Teaching Framework utilizes basic theatrical elements (theme, plot, spectacle and character) and establishes parallels to educational components such as academic content, lesson plan, structure, classroom setting and teaching demeanor. This fall, Ashley worked in a classroom residency at Bronx Theatre High School.
Abby Case: Tell me a bit about yourself and your artistry. How did you come to be a teaching artist?
Ashley Newman: I have a background in dancing, choreography, and education. I did not know about Teaching Artistry until I was in graduate school at Bank Street College of Education. I was in the process of becoming a Middle School Social Studies teacher when I went to a workshop with a Teaching Artist. Her workshop was amazing, and that was the moment I knew I had to become a TA! I thought to myself, "I know how to do this!" It was very natural to me to lead a group of people through an arts workshop in a school setting. I finished my Master’s degree and then started pursuing teaching artist work.
AC: What is your favorite part about working as a teaching artist?
AN: I love blending my arts background and time spent as a performer with my education background. Instead of teaching students Social Studies, I can teach them about a subject I am an expert in, and I love that!
AC: What is the most challenging part about working as a teaching artist?
AN: There are so many different factors that can influence your work as a TA at any given moment - last minute changes to the space you have, the schedule or time you have been given, the students that come (or don't come) to your class, or current emotions of the students, what the classroom teacher is dealing with at the moment....the list is long! We as Teaching Artists have to be very flexible and have a Plan A, B, and C and be able to shift gears with a moment’s notice!
AC: Could you share a memorable lesson or moment from your time as a teaching artist at Roundabout?
AN: As a part of my training with Roundabout, I shadowed Jason Jacobs’ residency at Bronx Theatre High School this fall. I worked with one student on writing a play. I keep challenging her to raise the stakes for her characters, and we kept reading the play out loud to see where we could revise. She was appreciative of my help and we had a good time working together. We had a connection, and I think we will both remember it as something special!
Education @ Roundabout, Teaching Artist Tuesday