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7 Back-to-School Tips for Drama Teachers

Another new school year is upon us, and whether you’re brand new to teaching or a seasoned pro, Theatrefolk and the Drama Teacher Academy are here to support you on your teaching journey. The start of a new school year can bring some jitters, but it’s also a time of excitement and the opportunity for a fresh start. With that, here are seven back-to-school tips to help you get this year started in the best way possible.

End of Break Tips

If you haven’t already done so, go back through our Summer Tasks for Drama Teachers list and complete those tasks. Once you’ve done that, the tips below will help you plan ahead to set yourself up for success.

1. Assess your supplies.

Gather all your classroom and drama supplies, toss anything that is trashed, and replace or update supplies that need refreshing. This could include anything from getting new packs of paper and markers, to decluttering your costume and props storage, to cleaning out and replacing makeup kits and giving rehearsal blocks a sanding and a fresh coat of paint. Check your tech supplies — how are you doing on batteries, spike tape, cords? Look over your drama classroom wish list and see if you’ve missed anything.

2. Decorate your classroom.

Look around the classroom — does it need some freshening up? Do you need some new posters or perhaps some framed production photos on the walls? Is any of your décor looking faded, shabby, or out of date? (Who is the new hot Broadway star, and what show albums do your students have on repeat? Find out and plaster them in your classroom!) Does your drama classroom door need a makeover? If you have display cases outside your classroom, when was the last time you updated them?

While you’re at it, give your classroom a critical once-over and ensure the space is safe.

3. Plan how you’ll run your classroom.

Where will students sit? Will they start with bell work, a check-in, a welcome question? Will you have a behavioural contract? What routines and systems will you implement? If you are an experienced teacher, will you switch up your routines? Why or why not?

Go over your past curriculums and lesson plans and update them, if necessary. What worked well in the past, and what didn’t your students resonate with as much?

First Day of Class Tips
4. Share your classroom expectations.

What policies and procedures are in place in your classroom? What are your classroom expectations? How will students be held accountable for their work, and how can they keep themselves accountable?

Explain everything clearly and concisely and have it available in multiple places, such as a first-day handout to keep in student binders, posted on your class webpage, and hanging on your classroom wall in poster format. This way, students have no excuse for not knowing!

5. Get to know your students.

Try to learn everyone’s name as quickly as possible. Start and/or update your personnel files, if you keep them. Playing games can help students open up in a low-risk setting. Help your students to create connections with each other, and with you as well.

Be sure to check out the free PDF at the bottom of this article for 10 quick and easy name games, which are great to play during the first week of classes.

6. Start with theatre basics.

Some drama teachers jump right into scene work and playwriting and then wonder why students are struggling with the material. Starting with theatre basics is especially important for young students and those new to drama, but is vital for more experienced students as well. A solid foundation helps your drama students succeed.

Start working on topics like trust building and active listening, vocal technique and clarity, community building, and ensemble mindset in your first few weeks of school, and you and your students will reap the benefits in the long run.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Sometimes we just need quick and easy answers to get us started right away. Here are some no-fuss resources to help you out:

Get Your First Day of Drama Class Started Out Right
Round-Up: Back-To-School Resources for Drama Teachers (first week & classroom management tips)
Round-Up: Back-To-School 101 for Drama Teachers (production tips)
Back-To-School Affirmations for Teachers
Top 5 Rules for Building Relationships with Students

Click here for a free PDF: 10 Quick and Easy Name Games
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