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UFT.org Home > News > New York Teacher > News stories > At Queens school, 'It's all about shtick'...
Giving a performance — including songs, funny routines and whacky props — “is a gift that is always the right size, always the right color, never has to be returned and stays as a memory forever,” said teacher and impressario extraordinaire Dina Marks.
The K-5 “literacy-through-music teacher,” as she describes herself, who teaches children to read and write through lyrics, runs the annual holiday concert performed by special education students at PS 63 in Ozone Park.
The 20-year tradition is a joint project of the school, the Lefferts/Liberty Kiwanis Club and the Villa Russo restaurant in the neighborhood. This year, 89 kids performed at the restaurant on Dec. 8, then again at the school on Dec. 12, to rave reviews.
To help make it a great show, Marks, as she’s done for eight years, works one on one with kids — who have disabilities such as autism, hearing loss, learning delays and Down syndrome — starting in October.
“I don’t give up on children,” said Marks, who has been at PS 63 for 17 of her 27 years in the school system. “It’s just a matter of finding the right way to get ideas across.”
She added that everything she’s ever needed to know she’s learned from the children, “who are so kind and generous and value their little community over individual wants.”
Kind, and funny.
Marks said it was great when the children realized they were making people laugh when they wanted them to, “that it’s all about shtick.”
There were big Mickey Mouse hands descending, bells ringing, Santa Claus, Hanukkah, holiday songs, Charlie Brown, hippo masks and a giant stuffed dog followed by children with a big pooper scooper (“their idea,” said Marks). A girl sang “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” who actually had her two front teeth missing.
“I was sure to let the audience know I didn’t arrange for that,” said Marks.
The children had so much fun they forgot what hard work they accomplished and were very grateful to their teacher, who has the evidence to prove it.
“My clothes are covered with chocolate fingerprints from all the hugs I’m getting,” she said.
What is your favorite movie about a teacher?
Dead Poets Society
Stand and Deliver
Mr. Holland's Opus
Total votes: 642