Rebecca Deutsch, a 2013 graduate in theater, will spend 10 months teaching English and literature in Greece. She anticipates teaching at the high school level for Athens College or the Psychico College, which together make up the Hellenic American Education Foundation.
Since she graduated, Deutsch has been an educator at a Montessori school in the San Francisco Bay area, where she teaches humanities, math, and theater to middle school students. She also teaches art to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
She applied for the Fulbright English teaching assistantship in Greece because the country’s artistic history has long inspired her. “My love for theater developed through a childhood fascination with Greek history and mythology, and later, adapting Greek plays and training in Greek choral work, I was enraptured by how so many modern plays have descended from the choral tradition of Theater Dionysia,” says Deutsch, who concentrated in playwriting and directing at Oberlin.
“I have since translated this interest into my middle school curriculum. We are currently reading The Bacchae in preparation for studying The Odyssey, and I just led my students through devising a wildly imaginative rendition of Sarah Ruhl's play Eurydice. I am inspired by the current climate of theater in Greece. New playwrights such as Anestis Azas are developing documentary plays about refugees crossing borders, and schools such as The National Theater of Northern Greece are retelling stories like Mother Courage at a time when these plays hold particular significance.”
During her Fulbright year, Deutsch expects to broaden her teaching abilities and deepen her connection to young adults. She also hopes to devote time to writing a play while in Greece.
“In my classroom, I am constantly witnessing children transform. I see them struggle and rise above challenge after challenge as they stretch and persevere. I think my interest in transformation is why I love theater so much. Theater is, in essence, the transcendence of our reality to that of an imagined reality. This is why I am eager to teach English and literature to non-native speakers. I think it will be a huge challenge that in turn will teach me many great lessons.”
After her Fulbright, Deutsch plans to travel around Europe before returning home to California. She intends to pursue a master’s in arts education or education leadership.
“My goal down the road is to direct a school that holds the arts, global entrepreneurship, and multiculturalism at its core. I would love to lead an arts magnet school or start a performing arts center where there is a need. I would of course employ all of my wildly talented Oberlin friends to teach there.”
Deutsch was involved with Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, was a mechanic at the Bike Co-op, and hosted a radio show on WOBC. She also helped start a learning garden at Prospect Elementary School.