Introduction to Theatre | 2012–2014

Between 2012 and 2014, I taught three sections for four consecutive semesters of the class Introduction to Theatre at Hunter College. It is an introductory-level undergraduate class. As the class is part of a GER, it has consistently been a challenge to make the ideas and history of theatre as accessible as possible to students with no prior exposure to theatre, and perhaps with little to no interest in theatre as an art form. Usually, the class has incorporated assignments such as writing reviews, two major exams, some in-class writing assignments, and an exciting end-of-semester “creative project,” where students get a chance to explore how theatre is made in pairs or groups of three (or, if they absolutely want, as a solo project). The students have been free to choose methods, means, and technologies to create their creative presentations freely, and they have included everything from mood boards and PowerPoint presentations to full 3D models of set designs, in-class performances, and edited videos.

Student Evaluations
Taking Theater was an amazing experience. Your class was the most interesting one out of all my classes! Additionally, I learned a lot of interesting facts about theater and made me love and appreciate plays. Thank you for helping me from the beginning till the end. Student, Spring 2014.
Instructor Kalle is a really cool person. He is very down to earth and can connect with the students really well. To be honest his class is one of the classes that I look forward to the most! Student, Spring 2013.
I really enjoyed being in Mr. Westerling’s session. His videos, presentations, and class sessions always helped me feel more comfortable with the material that was discussed in lecture. His knowledge of theatre is very interesting . He was always willing to answer questions either in class, during office hours, or by email. He would constantly update the class with any upcoming events and was quick to reply to any emails that I sent in concern with any homework or projects. Student, Spring 2013.
Honestly made me fall in love with theatre and understanding it as well as having knowledge about the art, I can honestly say that I will attend many more plays at Hunter as well as in the city from here on out. I loved the class it was entertaining and was never boring. Will be one of the classes to explain how great my freshman year at Hunter was! Student, Spring 2013.
I just want to send an email thanking you for all of your hard work, dedication and constructive criticism that you have given to me and the class. You made every class hilarious while still making sure we understand the material and think in unconventional ways. By far, you are one of the best educators I have had! Student, Fall 2012.
The course is an absolute blast and very informative. Student, Fall 2012.
he is amazing lecturer shows that he knows the information and shares his knowledge. Student, Fall 2012.
I really enjoyed this class a lot. It made the material learned in lecture more concrete and clear. I am extremely glad that I took theatre!! My interest level has increased immensely and now I want to take more theatre classes and go to more performances and/or productions. Student, Fall 2012.
For the most part, this class was super exciting and very very hilarious (which made my day), and was my motivation to learn and stay focused. In addition to the in-depth material, I liked how this section class covered a full spectrum of topics. Overall, very excellent class and I wish it was as long as the lecture. Student, Fall 2012.
Kalle is a wonderful instructor and pleasant to be around. Often times I’d come to school not wanting to be in class, but he makes it an enjoyable experience with his funny personality and his willingness to be of assistance to anyone who needs it. Great semester with him! Can only write good things. Student, Fall 2012.
By far, one of the best teachers I have had. He is patient, constructive, and willing to help his students. Most importantly, he is on time with everything and truly emphasizes the importance of his craft. He always answers any questions clearly and allows his students to shine. Student, Fall 2012.
Dear Kalle! You can’t even imagine how much I admire you as a great person and a competent teacher. It goes without saying that I loved attending your classes. You are jovial, optimistic, smart, and honest. I coud continue this list for several pages, but the main point is that you have what it takes to be a great teacher. I loved coming to your class!! Hopefully I will take your class again. Student, Fall 2012.
Faculty Observations
Westerling taught a wonderful, engaging class where the students walked away with strong concepts about performance. This is a positive observation for Westerling’s class. Professor Louisa Thompson Pregerson, Spring 2014.
He encouraging [!] a free flowing conversation about the work being presented [Angels in America] and everyone seemed to enjoy the exchange of ideas. Professor Ian Calderon, Spring 2013.
It was clear to this observer that Mr. Westerling had motivated his students throughout the semester. They eagerly expressed their ideas and were open to the opinions of others. His patience and generous nature spoke volumes about him as an instructor. It helped to establish a relaxed and collaborative environment for his students. Professor Ian Calderon, Spring 2013.
It appeared to this observer that Mr. Westerling is a good instructor. Professor Ian Calderon, Spring 2013.