Seniors step in for cinema studies teacher

The customary pranks played on unsuspecting substitute teachers would not work on these Cinema Studies substitutes.  They had taken time out of their own class schedule to teach the class.  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, “The Art of a Sex Scene.”

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. 

“I did not want to cancel classes, so I secured permission from Drew’s teachers and from Max’s teachers to have them excused to teach all three sections on the two Fridays [Feb. 15 and 29],” Walch said. 

Although they are both enrolled in a Directed Studies  in Cinema Studies, teaching is not a requirement of the class.

However, Foster views the teaching experience as “a further means of engaging in film studies — digging deeper into certain material,” which he says they do in their Directed Studies class. 
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 “asked students not in the class to teach the class.”

“I 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,” Walch said.
During both sessions an “adult in charge,” Upper School Dean Jason Honsel the first time and Head of Performing Arts Department Rees Pugh the second, sat in on the class.  However, Foster and Grey had command of the class. 

The first Friday, Walch allowed them to pick their own topic.

In their discussion of “The Art of the Sex Scene,” Foster and Grey showed clips from five different films “in which sexual behavior was portrayed, and pointed out and discussed the different ways that the acts were depicted,” Foster said. 

With each film clip they tried to incorporate ideas of “film composition” that are learned in Cinema Studies I and II.

The second week’s theme was “The Vocabulary of the New Wave,” which was encouraged by Walch since it “coincided with his regular lesson plan for those few weeks,” Foster said.
Walch received an “overwhelmingly enthusiastic response” from the students about Foster and Grey’s teaching. 

Although they are not scheduled to teach another class, Foster and Grey will assist Walch in a lecture he will give to parents who “won him” at the parent association auction.
“They want to, and I want them to [teach more classes], but given their other academic commitments, it probably won’t happen,” Walch said. 

Foster enjoyed the opportunity to teach and has a greater respect for his teachers. 

“When my teachers are lecturing, it often times seems so effortless and natural,” he said.  “I never realized how amazing and admirable that was until I tried doing it myself.”

“It made teaching seem quite enjoyable though,” Grey said.  “I always thought it must be boring to teach the same thing over and over, but, turns out, that’s not the case.

“Max and I are so so grateful for the opportunities Mr. Walch gives us,” Foster said.  “Whether 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.  It’s not everyday that you meet someone who makes such an impact on you.  We’re lucky.”

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