2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Michael Mullen

Michael Mullen

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Michael Mullen
Grades 6-8, Theatrical Collaboration
East Side Middle School

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

My greatest joy and challenge this year has been working with my students who have learning disabilities. Some of my students started the year refusing to participate in any activity and displayed violent, antisocial behavior. Now all of those students have come out of their shell, they can all work in groups, and many are excited to participate and contribute in class.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

In class this year we’ve learned about acting, directing, stage design, and playwriting. For our final class project, each student selected the area that most excited them and they were placed in groups. In their production groups, they wrote, directed, designed, and acted in their own original 10-minute plays. I’ve been incredibly proud to watch them work together with excitement about creating their own original work.

Michael Mullen and Jonathan Moore, president of Family Media. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

I love teaching theater (or what I call “Theatrical Collaboration”) because I see firsthand how important it is for kids this age to be able to express themselves not just individually but as a team. Watching my students get excited about an idea they want to perform and then listening to each other’s needs and ideas, and then coming together to create something new that integrates all of their creativity is what keeps me dedicated to being an educator. That kind of
creative growth and problem-solving is what I want for the next generation.

What do you love about your school?

East Side Middle School has an amazing, supportive principal, teaching staff, and PTA. We all feel like a family at school. I love knowing that whatever the issue or challenge, we can talk about it, be heard, and be supported.