I strongly believe that Theatre Arts should be a permanent fixture in our educational system. As a Theatre Arts teacher, I am dedicated to helping students explore personal expression by finding their own “voice” through the work we do in my class. Whether we are fleshing out characters from a classic play or performing improv skits for our peers, students in my class will become critical thinkers and confident public speakers. I want my students to conceive their place in the world at large and learn how to relate to that world.
It is not necessary for each student to come out of my class as a brilliant performer or that they even act in a public performance at all. The goal of my teaching is to guide the students through the discovery of self while developing skills in communication and collaboration that will be necessary throughout their journey.
On my path in field of education, I have begun to develop a clear vision of my teaching philosophy based on recent teaching experiences, study, and observation. The qualities I strive for in my theatre classroom are:
- Passion for my work: School can be fun! I do not expect my students to come into my classroom and enjoy learning if I do not enjoy teaching. I will work to make my lessons interesting and engaging, providing a stimulating and exciting learning environment for my students.
- Student-centered approach: The students are why we are here. I will try to stay in-tune to the individual needs of my students teaching to the multiple intelligences that encompass the whole class. A theatre class has the unique distinction of addressing almost all multiple intelligences at some point. By keeping my focus on the students as I plan and implement each lesson I can make sure each student has the experience they want and deserve.
- Goal-oriented classroom experience: I believe that the teacher and students should be on the same page in regards to what is expected from each other. I will map out curriculum so students can absorb classroom materials and lessons with a view to where we are headed. Hopefully, this will help keep their interest as the lessons are kept in context. Goals are also part of the overall education experience as students will learn to deal with assignments, deadlines, and consequences. Setting and meeting milestones is an important skill in and out of the classroom.
- Fierce preparation: This is a simple concept. The more prepared I am walking into the classroom, the more fun I can have with my students. The more enjoyable and comfortable I keep the class, the easier it will be for the students to relax and learn. Obviously, this means more of my time outside of the classroom must be devoted to lesson planning, but it will pay off great dividends as I see my students “get it”, or see a great student-production inspire school spirit and bring pride to the young actors.
- Patience for the process: Even with a solid plan and a good philosophy, there will be those “off days.” Whether I am off my game, or a student is just unreachable at any given time, it is vital to practice patience. Not everyday will go as it does in my mind, but if I believe in my process and work towards my goals, we will succeed.
- Classroom Management: It is important to establish a tone of respect and comfort when working with students in any setting, academic or otherwise. I think it is important to involve students in the construction of classroom rules and to discuss the consequences for when expectations are not met. Students, then, will not be surprised when a rule is broken and they are held accountable. My students need to know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior and have an opportunity to reflect on their decisions to gage whether or not it is worth it to make those same choices in the future.
- Collaboration: I am part of the team. I believe that my fellow educators should consult each other and create a system to protect, nurture, and care for our students. This is not a job that should be undertaken alone. I will seek out counsel from my fellow teachers, and offer advice when I can. We have a shared goal and can share the burden. Not only does this offer the best atmosphere for our students, but it also promotes a healthy work environment for the faculty and staff.
This is the kind of teacher I want to be. As I continue on my career path, I hope to never cease to be a responsible and fully-engaged educator.