Welcome to Meet a Teacher, a new column that features a teacher that teaches here in Andover.
Today we feature Susan Choquette, a teacher at Andover High School.
Where do you teach and what subject do you teach?
I teach at . I have taught in Andover for 15 years. My first 4 years were spent as an elementary music specialist at , and Elementary schools. I now teach drama at the High School.
Briefly describe your previous teaching experience and education.
I have a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Emerson College. I also was enrolled in a Master’s program at Boston University in Health Education but the call of the arts was too powerful. I have taught in schools in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Amesbury, and the Brookwood School before coming to Andover.
Before I started teaching in schools I also was a Community Health Educator for a Home Health Agency on the North Shore. I did workshops on nutrition and cholesterol screenings, that sort of thing. I worked mostly with an elderly population. It was very gratifying.
What is your favorite part about teaching in Andover?
Andover is gifted with a very talented student population and we have very committed parents. This makes work a joy.
Do you have any favorite teaching strategies or procedures in the classroom?
The theatre classroom is a unique place. We use so many different teaching modalities when we explore theatre. The student who has challenges learning in a traditional classroom setting can often be quite successful. Practically speaking, theatre has become a vital part of the curriculum in today’s world.
So much of our communication and interaction with other people has become more and more technologically based- email, voicemail, texting, social networking. I fear that our young people will begin to lose the ability to communicate face to face.
There just aren’t enough emoticons in our techno-based lexicons to account for the vast range of human emotions, feelings, sentiments and passions- things that can only be shared in a real-time, same place conversation. How will our young people be able to negotiate job interviews if they cannot effectively communicate without an electronic device as intermediary?
Theatre teaches us how to talk and how to listen. As an artist, I cannot emphasize enough how essential the craft of storytelling is to our culture. It is organic to our species and it stands alone as an art form that should be revered and preserved.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher- probably as early as kindergarten. I loved my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Rice and I had some really wonderful music and theatre teachers growing up- Sonja Pryor, Bob Lassonde.
It took me a while to start teaching- I believe it is a calling and right out of college, I wasn’t listening. As a student I loved school and as a teacher I love the learning process. I love watching kids make connections in the classroom- those “aha” moments when their eyes light up because they just “got it”. It is wonderful to be a part of that. And it is gift to be able to share my passion for the arts with young people. I am blessed.
Do you know any Andover teachers deserving of recognition? If so, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.