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Learning under the lights: Life as a first year director

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Learning under the lights: Life as a first year director

Janessa Waltemath, 12

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Justin Ralph has made great advancements as a first year teacher. While being a full-time teacher he is also going through graduate school. He has stepped up to fulfill the large role of an english, forensics, speech and drama teacher.

Ralph was a great pick as a drama teacher with his strong background in performing.

I have been performing and involved with the theatre since I was in elementary school. My first out of school production was in 7th grade. From then on I performed both in and out of school and was heavily involved with theatre, choir, and musical theatre,” Ralph explains.

For his first Circle High School production he was head tech director for the musical Oklahoma. This set can be tackled in many ways. There were not many props and set pieces but there was a lot of energy and thought put into creating the early Oklahoma presentation. He created multiple rotating buildings that held true to the time erra. There were some complications but the young teacher persevered and met expectations.

“With the guidance and aid of Mrs. Pyle and her husband we made the deadline and the set looked great,” he said.

This young enthusiastic teacher has decided to take on production of  Midsummer Night’s Dream for the spring play. Shakespeare has always presented a challenge for directors and actors, the language is very complicated to communicate between audience and actors. The actors must go the extra mile to put on an entertaining show but Ralph sees strong potential in the upcoming cast.

“I hope to get out of Midsummer Night’s Dream what I want from every show I’m involved with,a fulfilling artistic experience that is fun and creates good memories,” Ralph exclaims.

“He is very good at motivating students and you can tell he has a real passion for teaching,” Brylee Young,11 says. His students are very enthusiastic about his teaching methods and his relatability. The students that have one of his classes understand that he is a new teacher figuring things out but they also are very passionate about where he is going. While Ralph is still getting his footing on being a teacher he still tries to connect with the students.

Senior Nathan Todd agrees “I feel like he has a good understanding of how to relate to students and has a good vision of what he wants from a show and how to get that from the cast and crew.”

Even with new teacher jitters and the pressure of deadlines Ralph helped put on a successful show. He explains that he feels like he has established strong working relationships with his co workers and have accepted him into the CHS family. The young teacher plans on staying a while and growing as a teacher and director.

“I have always been a hands-on learner and all the experiences I’ve gained here during my first year are so valuable. I can’t wait to use them to make myself a better educator, theatre artist, and person to really take the Drama department here at CHS to another level!” Ralph disclosed.

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Learning under the lights: Life as a first year director