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The New Theater Teacher

Anyone can learn theater, but the passionate learn from the passionate.

“My motto is ‘Theater is Life.’ I can literally connect anything from theater to life, and vice versa.” Mr. Steckbeck, the new theater teacher said.

Grant Steckbeck taught for four years at Silvercreek High School, in Sellerscreek Ind. He handled a multitude of theater classes covering topics ranging from directing and design to stage combat. At North, he has been tasked with teaching the classes Theater 1-2 and Advanced Theater. He has been interested in theater all his life and studied the subject at Ball State University.

“He’s very loud,” Marley Burchenson, freshman, said about the first impression she had of him. “[…] You want to be friends with him. He’s really likable.”

Other students in his class have much to say about him, including Griffin Wagner, a sophomore.

“Whenever he speaks, he speaks like he’s giving a monologue. It’s fun being around him […] he seems very involved with the students. His door is always open.” Wagner said.

Mr. Steckbeck is dogmatic in his belief that students, when they have trouble, should seek him out and ask him questions. Though only teaching for four years, he seems to have come to find a style of teaching that suits him; hands on experiences with plenty of teacher-student communication.

Not only has the Theater classes been given to him, but he is in league with the Thespian Troupe, a student run group that encourages students to pursue theater. The Theater Board is run by students, who are in contact with the new Theater teacher.

“One of the things I really appreciate about his style of teaching is he’s really trying his best to let us do our own thing.” Emma Ostlund, a junior and officer in the Thespian Troupe said. “He’s there as kind of a figurehead to help guide us through. He really wants us to be a student run [organization], and get everyone involved.”

It should also be noted that many teachers take pride in their work, and Mr. Steckbeck is no different.

“I pride myself on that moment when you can see a student has not only understood and grasped the concept, but is formulating his own ideas about that concept, and the engagement that stems from that […] I live for that.” Steckbeck said.

For him, there is no exact measure of success for theater, as he explains: “Theater, as are the other disciplines, is subjective; there are no real benchmarks.” However, that doesn’t mean that his students can get away with slacking off. Theater, though it includes stage combat and Shakespearean insults, is a class that requires practice and commitment.

In his class, there are chances to gain extra points by trying out for school productions; hence the mass of students in nice, tidy clothes waiting outside the Black Box theater for auditions after school on September 6th, last Wednesday.

In theater, one often has to take on different personalities and parts that they had never considered taking. Needless to say, that takes confidence; However, Mr. Steckbeck is used to dealing with students that have no experience with acting, or are naturally shy in front of large groups of people, a common fear.

“If you’re shy, there’s only one way to get over stage fright, and that’s to get up on stage and do stuff.” Steckbeck said. “I had this student in my second year of teaching. She took intro, and had to do an audition. In that audition […] she gets up in front of the class […] and does this audition and breaks down crying […] that’s understandable, that happens, she wasn’t the first, she won’t be the last […] but, that person stayed in theater and kept doing it. ”

Such incidents have yet to take place, but Mr. Steckbeck seems ready to handle it; it all comes with the territory.

“He’s really passionate about it [theater], and it makes me passionate about it.” Burchenson said.

His enthusiasm seems to be catching.

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The Student News Site of Bloomington High School North
The New Theater Teacher