Teaching design at the Arts Magnet High School
I had read about the Arts Magnet High School in downtown Dallas. Full name: Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. I called the school and, after some connections and discussions, I was asked to help out in the Design area as a Teaching Assistant. I was still in graduate school and thought this would be a good gig while in school. I was hired full-time for the next fall, 1979 and taught for two years, 1979-81. I was hired by two departments - Art and Theater. I taught art classes, Basic Design and Drawing, in the morning and theater classes, Prop Design and Set Design, in the afternoon. It was fun because I got to know students in 2 of the school's 4 departments (the others were Dance and Music). I also helped out the Stagecraft teacher, Roger Richards. We worked together in that I and my students designed the sets and he and his students built the sets. I designed stage sets in high school and college and it was fun to get back in the shop and create the magic that happens on the stage of live theater. I loved teaching high school. It was very satisfying to serve as a role model for these young kids.

The Crucible
This classic drama by Arthur Miller is the story of the Salem witch trials makes a statement about the Communist witch hunt of the 1950s. The floating platforms formed a semicircle with the end tow platforms jutting out into the theater seats. The arch theme was repeated in the proscenium arch that framed a silhouette of a town with the church steeple dominating the scene.






The Matchmaker
The play that was adapted into the Broadway musical Hello Dolly.






The Inspector General, class production




Under the Gaslight, a melodrama







Dates
Mexican Folklore Dances: 1964
For Heaven's Sake, PHPC: July 1967
The Girls in 509, Hillcrest: December 1967
Spring Thaw, Hillcrest: Spring 1968
The Drunkard, Camptown Theater, Summer 1968
Sweetheart Presentation, UT: 1970
Yes, No & Yellow, 1976
The Crucible, BTWHSV&PA: 1980
Under the Gaslight, BTWHSV&PA: 1980
The Matchmaker, BTWHSV&PA: 1981

Some memories
I started teaching on an Emergency Teaching Certificate. I just had to verify that I was working towards certification each semester. Which I was at UNT.
Opening day excitement. My first ever teaching job. I was ready.
Faculty meetings in the library.
Class finished early - now what do I do? I had no prep for teaching. I soon learned to have mind game activities ready.
I taught stick-shift driving lessons in the parking lot. Lost a turn signal lever.
"You are my favorite fat nigger."
Production set designs after school
Narc - catching marijuana users

Some students
Seth Pybas, Trysh Travis, Holly Rudin, Matthew Broussard, Jennifer, Rory Owen, Jeff Stoddart, Chris Luxem, Michael Dain, John Mullins, Dean Whitus, Laith Al-Ubaidi, Trent Bomar, David Chambers, Max Hatzenbuehler, Larry Malvern, Tammy White, Daniel Webster, Greg Steele, John Bush, Tricia Reynolds, Steph Rodkey, Roy Turpin, Yolanda Jones



Faculty colleagues
Admin: Paul Baker, Darrell Chambers, Jim Gray, Dolores Arnold
Faculty: Louise Smith, Roger Richards, George Moseley, Karen Cogdill, Jane Farris, Molly Dean, Sally, Wanda Hill, Margaret Hull, Roseanne Cox, Tom Asher, Scott Davidson, Sandra May

Floor plans of the school
I taught in P-1, Portable building 1 and in 216, the Old Gallery on the second floor.

The classroom Year 2 in the portable



Science teacher Tom Asher's trip to Arkansas and Branson
David Opalecky(?), Trysh Travis, Daniel Webster, Katy Pybas, Craig Stoddard



Jim's study tour to New York City


During a walking tour in the Village. In Washington Square after Charlie Barnett's performance.

www.jamesrobertwatson.com/amhs.html