Teaching Drama

You know you’re a theatre teacher when…

This past weekend I posted the sentence starter, “You know you’re a theatre teacher when…” on our Facebook page.

We got dozens of great responses from the thoughtful to the silly to the sublime. Here’s the roundup.

Enjoy and please feel free to add your own!

Merri Kay Thompson Larsen ~ You realize you’re grocery shopping in your stage makeup.

Allison Green ~ You reschedule Mother’s Day around your rehearsal schedule.

Sadie Shannon Shannon ~ You don’t throw anything away because it could be used as a prop or costume someday!

Barbara Celia ~ You have “showmares” 3 nights a week.

Tanya Byers ~ You see a garage sale and think “ooh I wonder what I could get there for my show” and people on your staff bring you all kinds of stuff that they are throwing away and you love it!

Greg Hils ~ You must decide if the opening night of a quiet drama, that you scheduled 7 months ago, will be unduly influenced by the impromptu donkey basketball game going on in the adjoining gym.

Connie Travis Voight ~ You can’t describe right or left without wondering if it’s stage right or real right!

Roxane Caravan ~ You have a cat named Thespis.

Allison Green ~ You can pack a box, a trunk of a car and a truck like nobody else in your family.

Vicki Palmer ~ You get really excited for sales at the hardware store.

Murray Mintz ~ Your job is in jeopardy. Sorry for the negativity. Just some bad things happening in Florida — including a high school calling itself a Center for the Arts that eliminated theatre from the program. On a positive note — when you can get excited and teary because a student remembers the right move or lines after weeks of frustrating struggle. You know you’re a theatre teacher because you care.

Ginger Vinson ~ You quote Shakespeare all the time, but no one realizes it. :/

JR Simons ~ When you give everyone in your English class “extra credit participation points” for helping you fix the blocking in Act 2, Scene 3 the week before opening.

Sheila McClure ~ You could costume, tech & prop a show out of all the random items found in your car.

Alice Miku Vogelsong ~ When you have all of your students’ phone numbers cause of state competition and they all send you pieces of their monologue…..like Hv goody XD

Susan Ryan ~ When it is Saturday and you’re the first one at the costume rental shop and it’s not Halloween.

Adam Fraser ~ Greenies are protesting outside your house because you used a whole trees worth of paper giving notes on a dress run.

Mark Modzelewski ~ All school scavenger hunts and anyone (including teachers) needing to dress up for anything stop in your room.

Mark Modzelewski ~ You wake up at 3 am because the inspiration for the set design just hit you!

Aaron J Schmookler ~ You continually find yourself saying “Please… Theater or acting. Not drama.”

Rena McCully ~
hubby: what movie would you’d like for Saturday night
You: how ’bout a Tennessee Williams?
hubby: ok
You: sorry, but I HAVE to jot some notes….I can’t help it.

Rena McCully ~ An add on to Sheila’s comment above: when you HAVE to costume/prop/tech a show from the random items in your car.

Suzette Sroufe ~ When you get excited for a field trip to see The Glass Menagerie…again

Luis Gregorio Diaz Jorrin ~ When you strongly hope you could learn lines yourself for all your students… to later get some sleep!

Connie Travis Voight ~ When you’ve memorized the menus of all the fast food establishments between school and your house.

Christopher Cormier ~ When items like chachkas and tables disappear from your home for a month before your show and your partner doesn’t question it…

Robert Brophy ~ When you prop the show entirely out of your own living room.

Gavin Sakae Mclean ~ When you are making life choices at the gas pump between fuel and props.

Medina Demeter ~ When you have to remind yourself to do things like go to the bathroom, brush your hair, or eat…

Deb M Elwell ~ When you dream rehearsal, then live rehearsal, then dream rehearsal again! I do some of my best rehearsing in my sleep!

Sydney Jo Wheeless Crosby ~ All of the above and wear more black than a priest.

Wendy S Duke ~ You can’t keep up with all the shows your former students are in…

Gwen Adams ~ You have learned to make just about anything given the right amount of cardboard and duct tape – most recently 6-foot slot machine.

Kim Mccann-Lawson ~ You sit through 15 versions of the same monologue and still manage to look interested AND come up with constructive criticism for each person.

Rosendo DeLeon ~ When your wife asks “When will I get my husband back?”

Judi Wirenius Morris ~ You’re painting scenery at 1AM the day before opening night.

Patty McCown Olson ~ Your 80-year-old mother asks if she can borrow one of your theater costumes to wear to her Red Hat Society Halloween party.

Gai Jones ~ When the IRS audits you for claiming bread you bought as a prop for a show.

Rob Seitelman ~ You teach students it’s ok to fail.

Bolanyle Edwards ~ You meet former students and they introduce you as “My old drama teacher.”

Carolinian Shakespeare Festival ~ You try to quiet class with “Attention must be paid!”

About the author

Craig Mason


  • You literally physically, gently walk your lead out to her opening position on a bench during her panic attack in the opening blackout and and whisper “you own it.” And in three minutes she does. And , in the same show, during a dance number, the least talented of your mover in it decides to leap off the front of the stage into center aisle, crach and burn and spend the next few minutes trying to climb back onto the center stage during the following scene. We named the move for him.

  • In class, you tell your students to “Act before you think” and outside of class you tell them to “Think before you act”!

  • You keep up with the real life dramas in your students’ lives, because they know you are the only adult who “gets” them!  You also teach them that having good character in real life helps reproduce other characters onstage.

  • Fantastic and thank you for the entertaining and heartfelt comments…glad to know I am not the only!

  • oh yes…my classroom, my ‘prop/costume’ closet at home, my storage room..all could make a great episode..full of wonder and full of discoveries…but you know you’re a theatre teacher when every experience begins to feel like a great play…a new script…

  • YOu have an entire section of your wardrobe called “Tech week Black.”

  • The rest of the faculty assumes that you would be HAPPY to be in the all-school assembly, video, lip dub, etc. Although it makes you aggravated they assume, you get super offended if they don’t ask.

  • You know you’re a theatre teacher when…You stop at Starbucks in your stage make-up and stage hair, giant bow and all, and they look at you funny. So you just sign and say, “I’m performing in a show tonight.” They giggle and respond “So you need an extra shot in your Macchiato?”