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When Harrisites talk about SING!, we often hear of the bonding between the underclassmen and the upperclassmen–but what about the bonding that occurs between the staff and their students? Recently inducted as teachers along with this year’s freshman, English teachers Ms. Brandeis and Ms. Stillman go head-to-head alongside their students as two of this year’s Semore SING! advisors.
The advisors note a significant difference between a student in the classroom and outside of it.
“The students I do teach show me a new side to themselves during SING!,” said Ms. Brandeis. On whether or not it made it easier for her to connect with her students, she continued, “they come to you with conversations outside of classwork and tests.”
As an advisor, she doesn’t teach the students, she simply offers advice and acts as peacemaker, as opposed to the authority she must pose in a classroom environment, where grades hang in the balance. “It’s an informal environment,” Ms. Brandeis continued. “[The students] have the power.”
This reversal of roles doesn’t result in complete chaos; in fact she believes there isn’t much for her to do except “make sure there is peace and harmony, communication between singers, dancers, and actors, and making sure no equipment gets damaged.”
She adds, “The SING! people run things themselves… as an advisor, I can simply celebrate their outside talents.”
“As an advisor, I am more of a supervisor than a teacher,” Ms. Stillman agreed.
According to sophomore Daniell Morales, the advisors bring positive energy to SING! in addition to peacemaking.
“[Ms. Brandeis] brings good vibes into the atmosphere,” Daniell said. “Having her around makes me so much happier.”
As senior Eli Betts pointed out, however, they’re still adjusting. “They’re still trying to really understand everything,” he mentioned, but agreed with Daniell in that “they bring a much needed ‘pep’ to the rehearsals.”
“They’re really optimistic and have brought a lot of positive attitude to our practices.”
Science teacher Ms. Oberlander is also new to the routine. As the new COSA, she’s inherited many new responsibilities this year.
According to her, she “helps to oversee SING! by creating the calendar of practice locations for both teams, ordering and overseeing ticket sales, ordering SING! t-shirts, etc.”
The teachers balance the tall set of responsibilities that accompany being an advisor by establishing a set schedule.
“We work at different times, I work on Tuesdays and Fridays,” said Mr. Hagerty, who also assists in advising the Semores.
Despite the different shifts, he also commented on the effect that advising had on the relationships between the teachers saying, “we work well together,” of Ms. Brandeis and Ms. Stillman. “I got to know them a little more.”
In addition to providing three hours of entertainment for THHS students and parents, SING! has proven effective at creating close bonds, bonds that extend to the advisors working behind the scenes as well as the Freshiors and Semores onstage.