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Student Feedback

Quotes from Anonymous Student Evaluations

[Professor Shearer] made everyone feel as though their opinion mattered and held importance.


Sera has an aura around her that just breathes comfort and positivity. I had no issues opening up to her and feeling welcome in her class.


Sera did a great job communicating and making sure I had access to what I needed to complete my work in this class.


Teaching Materials and Student Feedback: Testimonials

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Throughout my teaching experience, the one thing that has remained a constant has been that nothing is, in fact, constant. No two students will have exactly the same needs, no lecture will take the exact same shape twice, and no concepts will remain exactly the same as time passes. As an instructor in the classroom, a mentor in the scene shop and at the tech table, and a listening ear during office hours, my teaching philosophy has been formed by focusing on eliminating obstacles in student learning, allowing students autonomy in shaping their own academic experience, and empowering students to find their own professional and artistic styles.

Obstacles in student learning can present in numerous ways. Whether it’s a student’s anxiety about sharing their creative ideas with the class, financial hardship that makes purchasing expensive materials and textbooks an undue burden, or a chronic illness that makes certain physical requirements of the traditional scene shop environment painful or impossible, there are countless ways in which a traditional theatre education can prove unattainable or unrealistic for many students. My philosophy is that if a student is unable to perform the task at hand, then it is my job as the instructor to identify what needs to change on my end. In working towards making my classroom more accessible, I am constantly learning about new ways to provide information so that students with hearing loss or vision impairment still get the same information as their classmates who do not face these obstacles.

Autonomy in shaping academic experience is crucial in getting students invested in a course. While of course there are curriculum elements that must be covered in certain courses, by allowing students to share what their specific interests and needs are, I can shape some of the details of a course to make sure needs are being met and students remain engaged. One of the ways in which I do this is to offer variations on projects. Students will have certain parameters they must meet (for example, they must build a stock flat at half scale using the methods described in class), but the details can change based on the experience levels and interests of the students (more experienced students may opt to hone their welding skills by building out of steel, or those interested in scene painting may create a soft flat that they can use for future painting projects). By allowing for differences in projects, every student can work at their own level of expertise and interest. I have found that students are far more invested in a project or in a lesson when they get to help shape the task at hand.

A variety in instructional methods also allows students to learn the way that suits them best. As every educator knows, students all learn through a variety of different styles, and some really struggle if being taught in a style not conducive to their needs. For this reason, I make an effort to present all information in three different ways. Material is first presented in terms of reading, either from a textbook, an article, a professional website, or another credible source. This way, students can clearly see everything written out and explained, and can process at their own pace. Next, the material is addressed through lectures or demonstrations in class. Students who prefer to hear materials or see them happening get the chance to observe and ask questions without the added pressure of “doing” yet. Finally, all students move into a hands-on approach, demonstrating the skills they have learned. This not only covers the students who learn best in this style, but also prepares all students for practical application of topics.

Empowering students takes many shapes. It does not mean only praising students or telling them what they want to hear. When I think of empowering students, I consider the ways in which I can help a student grow as an artist and a professional, and how I can help them discover their own identity within a rapidly changing industry. In mentoring students, I provide them with examples of methods that have worked for me, and explanations of why these things have worked. I also provide examples of methods that have worked for others, or methods that have been less successful for me, and from there allow students to find their own styles. When providing constructive feedback, I make sure to explain why I am responding in certain ways, or why I am discouraging certain behaviors or methods. I also try to emphasize integrity as an artist and professional. So often, students are put in positions that are unjust or unsafe, and they feel as though they are powerless to speak up for themselves or their peers. By working with students to identify what the issues are, why they are happening, how to address them, and what the ideal outcome would be, I can empower students to create the type of environment they need in order to excel, and ultimately the type of culture our industry needs to move towards.

Teaching Materials and Student Feedback: Text

Sample Lesson Plans

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Teaching Materials and Student Feedback: Image

Sample Schedule from Syllabus

THEA 1513 Fall 2021 Schedule

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Teaching Materials and Student Feedback: Image
Stagecraft Class - Props Guest Lecture Fall 2019_edited.jpg
Teaching Materials and Student Feedback: Image
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