Mrs. Gilson Enjoys Virtual Learning with Public Performance Class


Meredith James, Staff Writer, Journalism I

Mrs. Andrea Gilson, English teacher and adviser of the Drama Club, is one of the most active teachers working during this pandemic, especially in her Public Performance class. 

An alum of Notre Dame Academy, Gilson is faced with many challenges and new opportunities this year, but she is determined to make learning from home entertaining and inclusive. 

Gilson is beyond excited to give this school year a musical experience like no other, and some of her work and creative ideas in Public Performance might contribute to a successful musical.

“The biggest challenge for the theater department is not being able to meet and practice in a larger group, making the interactive aspect a lot more individualized,” Gilson explained. 

Public Performance is a widely known, popular English elective at NDA. Normally held in the auditorium, Public Performance is conducted during student lunch hours, enabling students to perform before a live “lunch bunch” audience. 

It is a definite crowd pleaser, and Gilson says that this year is no different. Public Performance during the pandemic has blown away her expectations, as the use of virtual learning allows students to be more creative.

“I have absolutely loved teaching Public Performance this year,” said the happy teacher. “My students are truly incredible and have been so innovative.” 

With all-virtual learning, activities like miming, monologues, improvisation and impersonations are a wonderful way to help students partake in the class. 

Gilson said that activities like dressing up as celebrities during class and utilizing Flipgrid have made students much more comfortable with adjusting. 

As Public Performance continues, Drama Club is another activity around NDA that encourages students to take a break from the academics and be creative.

Gilson is also at work coordinating a Christmas show skit for the NDA community in hopes of bringing some joy and cheer to the season. 

In NDA tradition, the musical is something that all of Notre Dame looks forward to, and the news is that something is still coming our way.

Gilson says that the musical will look different this year, but she and Mrs. Christine Salerno, music director, are vetoing the idea of a Zoom musical. 

There are plans to meet this week and the coming weeks to figure out a new format that will follow social distancing guidelines, yet bring a beautiful musical to all. 

As NDA continues to learn from home, Mrs. Gilson has continued to work hard everyday for the love of her students.

“I do miss the small daily interactions and the ease of one-on-one in-person conversations. I always have wonderful classes, but this year especially has helped me grow as a teacher,” Gilson said.