Eye of the Tiger

New drama teacher develops program to meet student needs

Jennifer+Saigeon%2C+Roseville%27s+newest+drama+teacher%2C+is+working+on+implementing+a+more+student+run%2C+student-oriented+program+for+her+students.+She+hopes+to+prevent+a+disorienting+shift+by+slowly+easing+into+new+techniques.
Jennifer Saigeon, Roseville's newest drama teacher, is working on implementing a more student run, student-oriented program for her students. She hopes to prevent a disorienting shift by slowly easing into new techniques.

Jennifer Saigeon, Roseville's newest drama teacher, is working on implementing a more student run, student-oriented program for her students. She hopes to prevent a disorienting shift by slowly easing into new techniques.

(JORDAN DEL VALLE TONOIAN / EYE OF THE TIGER)

(JORDAN DEL VALLE TONOIAN / EYE OF THE TIGER)

Jennifer Saigeon, Roseville's newest drama teacher, is working on implementing a more student run, student-oriented program for her students. She hopes to prevent a disorienting shift by slowly easing into new techniques.

RICHARD SEGOVIA

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New drama teacher Jennifer Saigeon is developing the drama program to suit her students’ needs. Saigeon first discovered Roseville High School and it’s theatre program while looking to move closer to home.

“I looked at many schools, but I loved Roseville’s program.” Saigeon said. “They had taken several pieces to Lenaea, and they had come in and placed, which meant they had a strong theatre program.”

During her time at Roseville High School, Saigeon has plans to shift the drama department’s focus to cover a large variety of original, student-produced works, rather than staying focused exclusively on performing professional pieces. This is part of a larger idea to shift the focus in a more student-oriented direction, in contrast to last year’s drama department.

“I want to see improvement for each of them individually, and then as a class to just get stronger and stronger as a class.” Saigeon said. “So I would love to see as many as possible coming out and doing plays, and doing their own performances that they create, either through original writing or sketch comedy improv shows.”

Saigeon thinks that it can be a difficult for students to adjust to a variety of different teaching styles, especially in a short period of time, but the students haven’t had any trouble thus far.

“I think it can be a challenge for students, but I haven’t seen it in my students,” Saigeon said. “They really embraced me coming here, which was just so awesome. I feel very much like there is a family here that I am walking into, and they opened their arms to me.”

Junior Annabelle Tiznado, a current drama student, understands that having multiple drama teachers can be tough on the students, however, she’s enjoying how things are coming together so far.

“It’s just a very different dynamic as students come and go and as teachers come and go. Everything gets a little bit different,” Tiznado said. “I think this is a lot better just for the students because they get a comfortable space to learn.”

Tiznado predicts that the future of the drama department will continue on a positive path, as they are already discussing plans for the rest of the year.

“I see the rest of the year going really great; she has a lot of things planned that she’s talked to us about and I’m super excited for all of them,” Tiznado said.

Returning drama student and senior Douglas Pomin feels that it’s refreshing to work under the new drama teacher. He appreciates her open mindedness and kind attitude toward the students.

“It’s really nice to have a new face in the class where she’s experienced, but she’s also open to a lot of new ideas,” Pomin said. “She’s very understanding of the students and she’s very supportive of the concept of the students being a part of everything.”

Ultimately, Pomin hopes to create a close-knit bond with the rest of his class.

Saigeon’s willingness to shift focuses from last year  and allow students to take control of their class experience is admirable, according to Pomin.

“What’s cool about Mrs Saegoin, in comparison, is she’s a lot more connected to the concept of students being in charge of what they’re doing and seeing things from the perspective of their students, instead of a directorial perspective,” Pomin said.

Saigeon is working to implement her own ideas into the drama department without overwhelming students, while simultaneously balancing the previous drama teacher’s work.

“There is a huge give and take. Sometimes it can be really hard to make sure I’m as seamless as I can possibly be, with what Mrs. White started,” Saigeon said “I’m still adding in some of the things that I’m bringing to the table, but I think maybe because we had conversation about me not coming in to just take things away, and them telling me what they had done previously. It seems to be working really well.”  

Ashley White’s predecessor, former drama teacher Stuart Smith, has faith that Saigeon will be a great addition to the drama department.

“I can say that our new drama teacher has jumped in with both feet and seems really ready to take on her new role,” Smith said. “I have every confidence she will do a great job with the young artists at RHS. There are very few jobs on our campus that give you the rewards of running a theatre program, and I know she is really looking forward to taking on that role for us, here.”

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