KAT IN MOTION: A day in the life of theatre major Kaitlyn Kat Williams '21

Kaitlyn “Kat” Williams '21 knows the work required to stage a production better than most—she has spent ample time both behind the scenes as well as on the stage during her time as a student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Williams is a senior theatre major who grew up in Connecticut before she moved to Texas and graduated from Bishop High School in 2017.

Williams initially chose to study at the Island University following an audition at a conference while in high school; she credits Theatre Professor Kelly Russell with inspiring her to choose A&M-Corpus Christi.

As an Islander, Williams was a member of the build crew for “Hands on a Hard Body,” and was stage manager for “Mr. Marmalade” in the 40-Minute Play Festival in spring 2019. Her acting credits include roles in “The Wolves,” “What Every Girl Should Know,” and “The Love of the Nightingale.” In spring 2021, she served as director of the Bess Wohl play “Small Mouth Sounds” and was a student teacher for both virtual and in-person students at Mary Carroll High School in the Corpus Christi Independent School District.

“In the beginning, even just taking attendance for both virtual and in-person students was daunting, but I’m getting the hang of things,” Williams said. “While virtual teaching (and learning) was not my favorite way of doing things, it was my favorite way to keep people safe.”

While Williams spent most of her early years on campus, the senior spent much of spring semester in her student teaching role, returning to the Island University mainly to attend meetings and rehearsals.

Williams, who plans to teach high school theatre after graduation, provided an in-depth view of the schedule of a busy theatre major who adjusted to a life framed by health protocols required as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22, 2021

7:30 A.M.
I leave my house and head to Carroll High School. I am student teaching Theatre 1, 2, 3, 4, Tech, and Production. I enjoy teaching high school because by this time, most students know whether they like theatre or not. We get a great mix of students who are very into it, and others who are still testing the waters. It makes for some great interactions and teaching moments about everything in the world of theatre.

8:15-8:50 A.M.
I prepare the lesson for the day. This includes setting up the smart board, logging into any accounts used throughout the day, sanitizing chairs (which I do after every class), and welcoming the students. In the classroom, COVID-19 protocols have been an evolving conversation about why it’s important to keep sanitizing and what things might look like in the future when more people have been vaccinated.

My cooperating teacher, who is the full-time teacher who teaches students in the class, teaches first period. The students seem like they are still sleepy. Once the students and I get into the lesson, they are more attentive. It is so much more motivating when the students are engaged. It lets me know that they are interested in formulating new ideas rather than staying stagnant.

My cooperating teacher teaches second period as well. I listen intently to find things I can use to teach the next class. The students are more engaged when the lesson is taught like a conversation rather than a lecture. I will be using this tactic.

Third period is the first class my co-student teacher and I teach on our own. I have grown a special connection to the students in this class. They are the first class I ever taught. It means a lot that they are involved in my learning to be a teacher. I have spent a lot of time connecting with them and finding out new things about myself in the process. After class wraps up, I eat lunch.

This is my second day to teach fifth period. It is also the first time I am observed by my cooperating teacher. I am working towards a teaching style that best suits my fifth period students. Every class is unique! This class is more interested in the costuming and makeup side, so I focus my examples to their interest.

I help my cooperating teacher teach this class because the students are more advanced. These students have been doing theatre for a while and are involved in more productions. It is a higher-level class altogether.

4-5 P.M.
During a teacher conference period, my cooperating teacher goes over the results of my observation. I learn the meaning of “differentiating instruction” and now I need to learn how to use it well and often. Every day seems to bring a new challenge to overcome. I welcome the feedback. My evaluations have been especially helpful in terms of pre-planning for my classes. I receive helpful tips on how to keep my lessons more structured while also keeping conversations moving.

5-6:30 P.M.
My co-student teacher and I are helping our cooperating teacher direct a one-act play titled “The Diary of Adam and Eve” so we assist at rehearsal. My favorite part about my career is being able to create a community built within shows for my students.

7-10 P.M.
I’m back at the Island University to rehearse “Small Mouth Sounds.” I am excited to learn that set construction has begun. We run the full show today. My actors are going through school, the pandemic, and an ice storm all at the same time. They still never cease to amaze me. Becoming one working mind is beautiful, especially when you see the final product.

I catch up on emails, finish my homework, and start lesson planning for next week. I try to fall asleep while watching TikTok videos. It’s a way to rest my brain instead of it running around at 300 mph in four different directions.

I think about all the things I didn’t get done today and make a mental list to accomplish them tomorrow. Then I finally fall asleep. Theatre isn’t easy, and neither is teaching, but both are so much more rewarding than you could ever imagine!