This Teacher Works Six Days a Week

Rafe Esquith has immigrant students learning Shakespeare in the fifth grade

The Abbess in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors is a baby-faced actress with a Korean accent and a Betty Boop voice. Yet ponytailed and blue-jeaned Rebecca Seo, 9, brings to the role all the majesty of Elizabethan prose as she stands on a desk at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School, declaiming, "The venom clamours of a jealous woman/ Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth."

The shy Rebecca cannot quite bring herself to embrace Aegeon, her long-lost husband, in the form of Dustin Barrera, 10. No matter--the teacher is impressed. Did anyone help her rehearse the lines? he asks. The diminutive...

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