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Winter 2016

Hang Time

Hang TimeIs being in graduate school anything like learning to move on a static trapeze? It is for Maiba Bodrick, a master's student in the Language and Literacy Program. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Starting both took a bit of bravery. To come to Harvard, Bodrick had to move from D.C. and leave behind a job she loved teaching high school English and technical theater. To learn trapeze last year for fun, she had to learn to move and balance on a bar hanging from two ropes, often upside down, without supports.

2. They help her stay challenged. "I was propelled to come to the Ed School because of my teaching experience," she says. "I taught in Arlington, Virginia, a very affluent community. There was a wealth of technology and opportunity for my students, but I still had kids who couldn't read. People think it's just in the inner city, but these issues are also in the suburbs." Bodrick noticed, however, a change in some students when they went from English to theater class. "They were more willing to approach a text in theater that they might not in English class. There was a different openness. It really got me thinking about motivation and environment." Likewise, the trapeze pushed her, especially physically. "I'm competitive. I'm always looking for new challenges. I practice Bikram yoga. I do bodybuilding. Mud runs? I did the one with colored paint. The one with fire. The one in the dark. But there's so much more to learn with the trapeze."

3. They keep her moving. "The movement in learning is big for me. I can't study sitting down. I move when I'm learning, even when I'm reading." Does she think she could read upside down doing trapeze? "Probably not."

Illustration by Daniel Vasconcellos