Teaching Drama

I’m Going to be a Drama Teacher

Yesterday I talked to THIS first year drama in education class. 107 students, not all heading to be teachers but a good chunk of them. I talked about having a non-traditional arts career (there just aren’t that many publisher/resident playwrights out there) and the importance of arts education in my career.

A lot of drama eds get treated like second class citizens when they’re mixed in with Theatre students. That somehow teaching drama is less important than being an actor or a director.

Of course, I believe the total opposite. I strongly believe in the importance of drama in the classroom. That drama is one of the few places teaching real world skills: communication, self expression, creative thinking, creative problem solving. That drama teachers are necessary and needed.

So it was pretty awesome to have students come up to me afterwards and declare their intentions to be a drama teacher. With pride and enthusiasm. They’ve got more school to get through, and you never know how your life is going to turn out. But in the moment it was a truly thrilling moment.

” I’m going to be a drama teacher.”

About the author

Lindsay Price

5 Comments

  • Hi Lindsay, I’m a certified drama teacher but can’t seem to find a position anywhere. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,Beth

  • Alas, I don’t have that kind of info or inside information. It’s a tough market out there, in all fields to be sure. Are you on a supply list?

  • I am a drama teacher in high school — only 18 years so far. But I didn’t start there. I had to teach junior high, outside my training in different subjects, in order to get a permanent contract. And in the early years, a lot of my energy was spent demonstrating my usefulness/knowledge to teachers and administration through Remembrance Day assemblies, Christmas concerts and the like. If we got a one act together by February (starting rehearsals in Sept), it was a banner year.
    If you want to teach in drama, try to get a breadth of knowledge across the theatre disciplines and read lots and lots and lots of plays. And network with friends in theatre and drama education who have the skills that you don’t. Once you start teaching drama, you will (and should) be working hard. I am lucky to count many former students as friends and creative collaborators in my freelance life. But I’m telling you now: drama teaching is not for the weak.

  • I suppose some of the problem is the old adage, “those that can do it, do it. Those that can’t do it, teach it.”

    While I don’t agree with this notion, I must admit that as an actor I think I would get more out of a drama teacher who at least puts themself up on stage as an actor on a regular basis. Even if only once a year in a small capacity. Drama teachers tend to basically be directors within their schools, and that sometimes (especially in high school) leads to the classroom being just a conduit for his or her personal artistic statement, as opposed to a laboratory for developing new talent.

    But if a drama teacher can ignite a love for the boards by making his/her enthusiasm contagious amongst the students, I very much value the drama teacher, and think that every school should have a drama department.

  • As a drama teacher, I explain to my theater students who have made the observation that teaching drama is not the same as being an actor that the real difference is that I get to do what I love (work in theater) absolutely every day of my life where actors may go long periods without work if the industry isn’t kind to them. And then I point out how I spend a majority of my time acting WITH them in workshops and standing in for absent actors during rehearsals. I get a good deal of acting time in. Now to its importance….go one step further and point out how theater work requires using EVERY possible area of education that students study in school, that theater is the one subject that uses everything they learn from reading, to writing, to physics (of sound / lighting), to math, to languages, to physical fitness, to art, music…I could continue…but I am one person who is supporting your all the way on this one. Hooray for drama teachers.