A change in the making

SHS theater teacher reflects on first few months teaching



Theater teacher Caleb Francis writes a pass for a student. This was in his Theater Arts 2 class.

Caleb Francis, the newly welcomed director of the theater department at SHS, is a busy bee. On top of his four to five classes a day, he spends hours a week after school for drama club. Despite jumping in the face of chaos, Francis hit the ground running after arriving at the start of second semester. 

“I think we’ve started off strong,” Francis said. “I jumped right into the spring play, so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it, I just kind of had to do it which was kind of nice.”

When Francis first arrived, he was not new to the school nor the people there. He’s always had a natural relationship with the theater department and the team within it due to his past as a student teacher. Because Francis held on to this special relationship, his new workplace already had a presence of comfort. One of Francis’s favorite parts of working at SHS is how easygoing and supportive his coworkers, Austin Lundsford the assistant director of the theater department and Jaclyn Richardson the choir director, are. Whether it be theater related or general teaching questions, they are always there for him.

“We have a really good working relationship with each other,” Francis said. “That’s always something that is refreshing to walk into work knowing that you have coworkers that got your back and that you can talk to on a daily basis.”

Francis, only 24 years old, is a teacher who understands how to achieve the ideal balance between having fun and working hard. Since he is frequently praised for being well-organized and able to complete tasks quickly. At times, Francis’s co-workers and students often made jokes about how quickly he moves around while working since he is constantly on the go. 

It is hardly surprising that the SHS students are catching on to his methods of instruction so quickly and so readily. Francis fosters an environment where he makes his students aware of his goals and expectations while providing them with the encouragement they need to face difficulties since he has a great belief in their talent and potential.

“He expects a lot out of his students, and I know that they can deliver so I am really excited to see what happens,” Richardson said.

Francis has only been working at SHS for three months, but already the theater department is going through a significant transition in preparation for the musical production that will take place next year. Next school year, the team is planning on directing the musical, “Mean Girls,” and in doing so,they anticipate on experimenting and taking chances with new technologies.

“It’s not something I really ever thought we’d get the chance to do, but then you get someone [like Francis] who is really willing to take some risks and try out some new things,” Richardson said.

The highlight of the semester since Francis’s arrival for both Francis and the students was the announcement of “Mean Girls.” Upon hearing the students’ suggestion of performing a show they were all familiar with, Francis made it his mission to find one. As expected, he did not disappoint. Francis was ready to see his students’ reaction as he knew they’d be thrilled to perform a childhood’s classic that they all  had seen and heard of. In addition, the theater program also changed the audition timetable for the show. The auditions are held at the end of the school year which usually takes place when the new school year begins in the fall. With this new adjustment, Francis and his team will be able to directly jump right on to working when summer vacation ends.

“We’ve got some big plans already set to rock and roll for next year,” Francis said.