Artist or Educator?

When we teach Drama or Theatre, are we artists or educators?

How much of the artist is in the teacher?

Do we need to be practising our art form while teaching, in order to be better educators?

Personally, apart from the traditional stuff in plays and musicals at high school, I haven’t really acted on the amateur or professional stage since I started Drama teaching. Whilst I know many Drama teachers (somehow?) wrangle the demands of teaching while performing in shows on the side. I take my hat off to them because I don’t know where they find the time or the energy!

But, does this make us better Drama teachers? Are we missing something if we don’t regularly practise our art outside of the Drama/Theatre classroom? If we don’t practise our acting, singing or stagecraft, then do we have less knowledge to share with our students and therefore less experience? If we act in amateur plays or musicals, is this another form of professional development?

I suspect there are valid arguments for both sides with this one. Just how important or relevant is practising our art form outside the classroom? Does this make us better Drama educators?

And how much of the artist is in YOU in the Drama classroom?

2 Responses

  1. Ange says:

    Being a drama student, i would say that in the teacher there IS both artist and educator in the teacher. when i watch my teacher and listen to them, they have a passion to act aswell as teach. The actor in my teachers always come out in drama class!

  2. Daniel Chapman says:

    I think being both and artist and an educator raises your profile in the eyes of your students. It also helps keep the teacher fresh in the class room – it could possibly be the best professional learning availible – hey, maybe schools should pay teacher to act in community and amature theatre productions.

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