Trends In Education
TEACHER OF INTEREST
Lives in: Vero Beach
School: Saint Edward’s School
Family: Married to Jeremy Baker;
Education: Master’s degree in
directing and stage management
from San Francisco State University
Background: Spent most of her career as a stage manager for
theaters in San Francisco, New York and Florida
How I got into teaching: “I took time off from theater to have
children and wanted to have a more workable schedule for my
family. I always mentored assistant stage managers so teaching
came naturally. Now I mentor children in the craft I love.”
What I like best about teaching: “Seeing the transformative
power of theatre and what it can do for kids. It builds selfesteem,
confidence and breaks down barriers that go beyond
the class setting.”
Something my students probably don’t know about me:
“My mom is from Great Britain and I was almost born there
because it has national health care, but I was born early as a
and eighth grades, students take a beginning acting class
with Baker or technical theater with her husband where they
learn about lighting, sound and scene design. Once they
reach high school, students can continue with advanced
acting classes with Baker or advanced technical theater and
stage craft with her husband.
“Transitioning from working with professional actors to
working with children was really easy,” Baker explained.
“I’ve always been somewhat of an educator because I would
always have assistant stage managers who I would mentor
and teach, so that part of it came naturally. I just went back
to how I was taught and adapted it for younger students. I
believe in impromptu, creative learning so I don’t give them
scripts. We learn as go.”
Perhaps that’s why the kids love Baker’s class in Foley
sound effects so much. The first thing Baker does is break
the students into groups and give them a fictional location to
work with. It might be a castle, or a park or an attic.
“This class is taught in the fall around Halloween so we
always get some eerie stories and sound effect,” she said.
“They work within their group to formulate a storyline that
lasts between a minute and a half to three minutes. Then
they act it out silently, rehearsing until they have it perfected.
Once they feel they’ve mastered the acting, the group director
shoots the vignette on an iPad.
And that’s only half the fun. Once the sketch is shot, the
students start the fascinating process of creating and editing
sound effects to enhance the video. They rummage through a
box of noise-making objects like blocks of wood, sandpaper,
hinges, wrapping paper, plastic bottles, cutlery, shoes, buckets
of water, rain sticks, thunder sheets, bells and musical
Each student has to have a specific task, whether it be slamming
a door, emulating the sound of footsteps or breaking
glass. On the editing table, with a towel on one end to mute
any sound of setting down an instrument, the students carefully
create the sounds to lay behind the video as they are
watching it. Other groups watch the process on a big screen
as the group creates the sound effects.
“The kids are absolutely mesmerized by the process and
have a blast doing it,” Baker said. “I start the class by giving
them insight on how a famous scene from Jurassic Park was
enhanced by Foley sound effects.”
She went on to explain everyday food items were used for
the scene where the baby raptor is hatching from its egg. The
cracking of his shell was made by crushing a large ice cream
cone. The goopy sounds of embryonic fluid were made by a
sound artist squishing his hands in a freshly cut cantaloupe
and the sound of cleaning the baby raptor was made by rubbing
dishwashing soap on a pineapple.
“The best part of my job is seeing the difference that acting
and creating sound effects can make in the students’ lives,”
Baker said. “They become more confident and more secure in
who they are and more secure in presenting that to the world.
Many times, shy children are more comfortable presenting
someone else by acting a character on stage. Aside from the
obvious effects it has on their diction, projection and public
speaking, the skills they learn in drama class carry through
to every aspect of their lives. And of course, the power of applause
Students in Baker’s drama class are taught how to write scripts, act, direct
and produce their films.
After students finish filming, they edit the sound track, matching the appropriate
noises to the scenes.
Teachers of the
Teachers of the