Teaching Drama

Arts Education – Something to be Thankful For


Theatre teachers – What’s the best thing about your job?

I asked the above question the other day on our Facebook page and I was blown away by the response. Despite the economy, the standardized testing, the pressures on arts programs everwhere, there is still a lot for theatre teachers to be thankful for. Here’s a sampling of the responses:

Reinventing the universe every 6-8 weeks. ~ Billy Houck

The kids and my fabulous co workers ~ Brian Edgecomb

Seeing growth and change in students as they realize that their behavior really does affect everything. ~ Grace Austin

Being able to do something you love without even thinking of the word “job”! ~ Tim Ryan

When students who said they “can’t do it” find their passion for performing. ~ Stephanie Alice

Getting to play in the sandbox every day. ~ Mark A. Zimmerman

Watching the transformation from “I can’t do this to I did it” after students pull of their first performances :) ~ Johanna Traxler Garrett

When students just think they’re “having fun” and then discovering they’ve learned a lot in the process… ~ Ellen Schulze

Watching kids focus on working together to merge their individual creativity into a piece of innocent, pure brilliance! ~ Gail Bronfman Bunch

Getting paid to craft all day!! ~ Brandi Walker

That spontaneous laughter that comes from the recognition of true and honest moments during acting exercises. :-D ~ George Page

Helping young people not just to become better artists, but to become better people. I have wonderful heart to heart conversations that they may not get otherwise. ~ Ray Palasz

Seeing the faces of the students when what they thought was not going to happen suddenly did happen. ~ Carlos Manuel

When the kids clap for each other, no matter how badly a scene went. ~ Jocelyn Hoopridge

Seeing kids build confidence. Moving away from “can’t” to working hard and realizing they, indeed, can! ~ Jordan Stringer

Watching my vision become a reality at the hands of my kids. And realizing, its better than what I dreamed. ~ As Kimberly Parillo

Multiple bursts of laughter… daily. Epic job perk. Great for the complexion. ~ Donalda Donni McCarthy

My fourth graders are completely into A Midsummer Night’s Dream. they talk in the halls about wanting to either be Hermia, or Demetrius. they have never been exposed to Shakespeare and rhythm of lines. ~ Jason Collins

Best part of my job is helping young people become the best they can be; both in Drama and in life. ~ Colin Plant

The light bulb moment-when they see something works because of something they did. ~ Chris Evans

Knowing that we are on the vanguard of the assessment battle as performance is immediate and tangible and oh yeah having a ringside seat as the misfit toys become superheroes. ~ Jonathan Gellert

My fantastic kiddos!!! They all bring such pleasure, whether it’s the joy of watching a company on opening night when they realize what all they have accomplished or the joy of a shy Theatre 1 student who has successfully performed his first memory piece. ~ Gena Lea Smith

Seeing how proud the kids are of the final product ~ Judy Pendergast Tourangeau

Everything I learn from the kids. They constantly challenge me and we grow together. ~ Debbi Brodsky

Watching the shy ones come out of their shell! ~ Ellen Farnsworth

Collaborative creating…inter-generational plays (older actors act as anchor actors for newbies…seeing the light bulb turn on…introducing theatre to people of all ages for the first time…and watching what they do after… ~ Kim Lynette Hawksey

Watching them gain confidence, and begin to know themselves. ~ Stacy McCorkle Webb

The moment when I hand over the show – and it’s theirs and they own it and I just sit back and watch. Like to tonight!!!! ~ Deb M Elwell

Having graduates come back to visit and tell me how much being a part of theatre prepared them for college or life, even though they thought that they were just having fun. ~ Paul Vega

My kids. I love to ideas they come up with and seeing the excitement when they try/learn something new. ~ Karen Pierce-Burks

I get paid to laugh! ~ Janice Pinson Weaver

The love! The love of the work! The love of words! The love of the lifelong memories! The love! ~ Carolyn Greer

Sharing my passion gives the kids permission to be passionate and crazy about something in their life (theatre or otherwise). Long-form improvisation … When my kids get so addicted to it it feels like everything is long form! ~ Jodi Papproth

The moment where it all ‘clicks’ and the laughter….oh the laughter! ~ Jennifer Rogers

When the kids come up with the best idea, and we run with it, and I step out of the way, and it works and is even a bit brilliant. ~ David Warick

The giant sacks of cash that accompany educational theatre! ~ Adolfo Rodriguez

I love seeing a quiet kid open up and be a part of the team. And I love to see the friendships develop. ~ D.M. Larson

Really, all of the above. I loved reading these answers. I guess I would add that everything is new and exciting, so different from other daily activities, a welcome relief. A part of the process I love is warm-ups because I think we all need them more now than ever before. A good physical warm up makes us get out of our heads and into now. . . ready to take on the world. ~ Janet Hegman Shier

Thanks so much for your responses, everyone.

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About the author

Craig Mason