By Reina Factor
The customary pranks played on unsuspecting substitute teachers would not work on these Cinema Studies substitutes.Â They had taken time out of their own class schedule to teach the class.Â Although they had been pupils just a period ago, as sixth period began, seniors Drew Foster and Max Grey took charge of the class and introduced the topic for class discussion, âThe Art of a Sex Scene.â
On two different occasions when Cinema Studies teacher Ted Walch was out of town, Foster and Grey taught his sixth, seventh and eighth period Cinema Studies classes.Â
âI did not want to cancel classes, so I secured permission from Drewâs teachers and from Maxâs teachers to have them excused to teach all three sections on the two Fridays [Feb. 15 and 29],â Walch said.Â
Although they are both enrolled in a Directed StudiesÂ in Cinema Studies, teaching is not a requirement of the class.
However, Foster views the teaching experience as âa further means of engaging in film studies â digging deeper into certain material,â which he says they do in their Directed Studies class.Â
When Cinema Studies II began, each student had 20 minutes to teach something of their own choosing. However, Walch said this was the first time he âasked students not in the class to teach the class.â
âI asked the two of them because they know their stuff and they are the co-chairs of the HW Film Festival and because they both as juniors had done exceptionally well in the course,â Walch said.
During both sessions an âadult in charge,â Upper School Dean Jason Honsel the first time and Head of Performing Arts Department Rees Pugh the second, sat in on the class.Â However, Foster and Grey had command of the class.Â
The first Friday, Walch allowed them to pick their own topic.
In their discussion of âThe Art of the Sex Scene,â Foster and Grey showed clips from five different films âin which sexual behavior was portrayed, and pointed out and discussed the different ways that the acts were depicted,â Foster said.Â
With each film clip they tried to incorporate ideas of âfilm compositionâ that are learned in Cinema Studies I and II.
The second weekâs theme was âThe Vocabulary of the New Wave,â which was encouraged by Walch since it âcoincided with his regular lesson plan for those few weeks,â Foster said.
Walch received an âoverwhelmingly enthusiastic responseâ from the students about Foster and Greyâs teaching.Â
Although they are not scheduled to teach another class, Foster and Grey will assist Walch in a lecture he will give to parents who âwon himâ at the parent association auction.
âThey want to, and I want them to [teach more classes], but given their other academic commitments, it probably wonât happen,â Walch said.Â
Foster enjoyed the opportunity to teach and has a greater respect for his teachers.Â
âWhen my teachers are lecturing, it often times seems so effortless and natural,â he said.Â âI never realized how amazing and admirable that was until I tried doing it myself.â
âIt made teaching seem quite enjoyable though,â Grey said.Â âI always thought it must be boring to teach the same thing over and over, but, turns out, thatâs not the case.
âMax and I are so so grateful for the opportunities Mr. Walch gives us,â Foster said.Â âWhether it is teaching, or suggesting films to see, or just engaging in conversation, he really is both a mentor and a friend to us and we really really appreciate him.Â Itâs not everyday that you meet someone who makes such an impact on you.Â Weâre lucky.â