March Teacher of the Month – Mr. Clemons

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Nathan Kriebel and Rebekah Colón

Recently theater teacher Micheal Clemons got awarded the teacher of the month award, which was awarded by State Representative Darren Camilleri. Mr. Clemons, who has been teaching for twenty-four years runs Woodhaven’s Storytelling (formally Speech), Debate, Intro To Acting, Acting, and Play Production along with directing for the Woodhaven Theater Company. We interviewed Mr. Clemons and although he didn’t say much about the award itself simply stating “It’s nice to be recognized, but this school is packed with teachers that deserve it.” You can tell just how much he loves his job “Theater is fun. I took theater classes in high school and college because I enjoyed them. If you can do for a living something that you would do for free, you win” We talked to him about his different classes, he said “All the Theater and Speaking classes are amazing. Play Pro and Storytelling (formerly Speech) are personal favorites, but I love them all.” Also talking about how beneficial theatre classes can be even if you don’t love theatre “Theatre and Speaking classes help students develop skills that will help them throughout life, regardless of your path. Hands-on experience creating, expressing, and collaborating. I want amazing learning experiences that don’t add a ton of work and stress to your already busy lives. I’m also not a fan of homework.” We also asked Mr. Clemons a few other questions relating to the topic, asking him what his favorite and most memorable productions that he has directed are, he had this as a response.“There are too many awesome shows to single one out. With the challenges of this year, The Laramie Project winning a state championship with these circumstances has to be near the top.” and for his favorite memory from this year “Opening night of Nightfall outside in the rain. This year has been all about overcoming obstacles, and that evening epitomized that.”

 We then interviewed some of Clem’s students including Senior and Head of Events onboard for WTC, Malina Rowe. Rowe has done 14 productions with Mr. Clemons in and outside his Play Production class. She spoke very highly of him when we asked how he was as a teacher/director “To me, he’s pretty good, like he…he knows what he’s doing he knows his stuff, He does push a lot but most of the time it’s not exactly a bad thing because that just makes us do better especially with the competition it’s like rehearsal every day you stay after school you do the things he tells you to do you do it right, and it always comes out with a good result.” And on whether or not he deserved the teacher of the month award she stated “Yea, He’s the only teacher that doesn’t scare the living daylights out of me.”

As well as Senior and WTC Board President, Eric McSweeney, on his thoughts about Mr. Clemons. We asked him how he is as a teacher, and he replied, “He is a very passionate person, and you can tell how much he cares about each production from the first day you start working on it. He’s organized and makes sure things get done.” We also asked McSweeney his thoughts on the classes Mr. Clemons teaches, and he had this to say, “They are very structured, we do a lot of the same stuff many years but they’re always fun and always different enough that it keeps the class exciting”. And on whether he believed Mr. Clemons deserved the teacher of the month award McSweeny said “Yes I do, he’s done a lot of commendable things, he cares for the company and the shows we put on and pushes us to our limits. Sure he’s super stubborn, but his iron will make sure that things get done the way that they need to. He’s led us to create a lot of truly amazing shows.” 

Overall Mr. Clemons receiving this award is truly an impressive achievement and not one many teachers get to have in their lifetimes, so congratulations to Mr. Clemons and thank you for all of your hard work.