Gets is a Gainesville native, and while there’s a newness to his position, there’s also a great deal of nostalgia for him.
“There are moments of great familiarity,” he said. “Like when I’m inside the Constans Theatre, it does feel like a time warp. It feels like 30 years ago.”
He said coming back to where he grew up to teach at his alma mater was a no-brainer.
“I’ve long said that my years at the University of Florida were some of the most happy and creative times of my life,” he said. “I stand by that.”
While teaching at NYU, Gets met with the College of the Arts’ dean, Lucinda Lavelli, for lunch near Lincoln Center. He offhandedly mentioned that he preferred teaching more than working at that point in his life.
“I’ve been very, very, very fortunate in my chosen profession, and I’m grateful for it, but there came a point when I realized I was actually enjoying teaching more than doing it myself,” he said. “I was really enjoying working with the students.”
And so the proposition began.
As with most things, there were challenges in the beginning. He’s spent his career hiding himself behind the characters he plays, so getting up in front of his class as himself, as Malcolm, was initially difficult.
Eventually, he realized, “It’s not really about me. I feel like I’m a facilitator.”
Now, the hardest part of the job is grading his students.
“I feel like one cannot grade based on talent,” he said.
To combat this, he enforces his attendance policy, has written assignments, and heavily takes into account class participation.
“I want the students to take responsibility for their work and for themselves,” he said.