Rebecca Bernard is a Muse alum and musical production assistant who now works in digital marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds. Below, she interviews Robin Blathers, a Muse alum-turned-Muse advisor.
REBECCA: What are the subjects you are teaching this year?
ROBIN: Eighth grade American History
What has been your best Muse Machine experience?
Well, it’s more pertaining to me, but I guess the NYC trips for the advisors. They’re training seminars, usually anywhere from 3-5 days in length, and I’ve been fortunate to go to New York three times. One of the draws is seeing live theatre. Current advisors, retirees and the staff that works downtown in the Muse office go on the trip.
Well, that’s pretty exciting considering you’re about ready to head to DC with your students, so at least when you go to New York you don’t have a group of kids to keep corralled together!
Yes! And it’s afforded me backstage, behind- the-scenes looks at the theatre.
Tell me about your Muse experience as a student. Well, I didn’t get into Muse Machine at the very beginning… but it was still in its infancy, I was involved in a lot of things as I currently am, so I was enjoying the in-school performances, but a lot of times my school didn’t do the out-of-school performances and I’m not sure if that was something added later in time. So it was me enjoying live performances from local artists, but not to the extent to what I do today as an adult advisor.
Did Muse In uence your career choice at all?
Not directly, but it is an extension of what I like and what I do outside of school. I’ve always enjoyed tying the arts into what I do with my curriculum anyway, so it helps me to have more options to use in the classroom and allow me to be me. I’ve always sung in the church choir; I’ve always been considered a ham. So when I partake of the various activities it’s basically me being me.
Do Muse activities complement what you’re trying to do in the classroom?
They always do. I’m in a graduate program in educational leadership, which has taken away some of my time that I normally would have to go to Muse events. I had an interesting conversation with Suzy Bassani when she was at our summer institute training seminar last summer. I told her that I wanted to use the research that I create to finish my program to talk about how standardization and testing and all these other movements have narrowed our curriculum so that Muse Machine suffers, so that the arts suffer, social studies, my subjects suffer because everything is about language arts and math. Muse ties in lesson plans all the time with those subjects to help support them, but I feel increasingly that people at times can be hostile because they feel that the arts don’t support the tested subject areas and that they’re a hindrance, which is very sad.
Yes, I can’t imagine my high school years without the arts or Muse Machine.
Me neither! And really, aren’t the people in the theater usually the ones doing well academically?