Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession; many even consider teaching to be their calling. Theatre and drama teachers have the privilege of sharing their passion for performing arts with their students, and watching them learn and grow not only as performers, but as people too. However, even the most enthusiastic and passionate drama teachers go through rough patches or a slump now and then. If you’re losing your passion for teaching theatre, consider the following questions. You can use them as journal prompts, conversation starters, or simply for contemplation.
1. How long have you been teaching theatre?
2. What do you currently like about teaching theatre?
3. What do you currently dislike about teaching theatre?
4. What is something you used to like about your job, but don’t anymore? What happened?
5. Has anything changed recently?
6. What specific aspects of teaching theatre are getting you down?
7. Would you teach theatre even if you didn’t get paid? Why or why not?
8. What are your strengths in the drama classroom? What could you do better?
9. What could you change or adjust about your program?
10. Can you delegate any of your tasks to someone else?
11. Is there something you can remove, not do, or stop doing?
12. How do you feel about your students (past or present)?
13. Do you still enjoy working on shows/productions? Why or why not?
14. Have you noticed any physical changes recently (emotions, pains, aches)?
15. Imagine taking a long holiday or sabbatical. How does that make you feel?
16. Do you teach any other subjects? Or, would you rather teach a different subject?
17. Have you considered leaving the profession or retiring?
18. Would you be happy doing another creative endeavor, such as directing professionally, teaching dance classes or vocal lessons, or performing yourself?
19. What do you like the most about theatre in general?
20. What do you like the least about theatre in general?
Now that you’ve clarified some of your thoughts and feelings about your teaching situation, what can you do about it? Below are some suggestions. You’ll notice that some of them are conflicting; that’s because we’re all different. Some teachers may benefit from immersing themselves in theatre-related activities, while other teachers would be better off taking a full break from any theatrical endeavours.
We hope you can rediscover your passion for teaching theatre, and regain your teaching mojo. A passionate teacher is a true gift for their students, because their passion is palpable. When a teacher enjoys their work, that positive energy is shared with their students, and it makes the drama classroom an even better place to be.