Summer holidays are over and school’s back for another academic year in Australia. How fortunate are we as drama and theatre educators to teach such a fun subject! I was wondering these past few days, do students get excited about returning to all subjects at school? Because they certainly have been in drama class!
Unfortunately, the reality for many teenagers is that for the want of a better phrase, school sucks. When I asked my students at various year levels what they expect their drama studies to be this year, I received a wide variety of responses. Junior students talked about wishing to receive more confidence and the need to be creative and use their imagination. Senior students spoke of hard work, homework and after school rehearsals. But the juniors reminded me drama is fun, while perhaps not surprisingly, fun never got a mention in senior drama class this week.
I told one of my classes yesterday that it’s hard enough being a teenager at the best of times, much less being a teenager at school (they didn’t need the reminder!). So if drama class stops being fun, hit me! (not literally, of course). I openly said that learning can and should be fun in all subjects, but if they’re not having fun in drama, then I’m not doing my job properly.
Sometimes we forget that academic rigour and fun can go hand in hand. Why can’t these two happily coexist? We’ve all seen the serious and stern teachers at our school. They’re the ones who think us drama teachers are just freaks. Guess who is having fun in the classroom? Not them. Guess whose students are more engaged in their learning? Ours, of course.
So, the past few days, the part I have enjoyed most at the start of a new school year is the buzz of excitement in the drama classroom and the beaming smiles on my students faces as they begin their new drama courses. I’m sure many of you have experienced similar. What a privilege this is for us, as teachers. What a responsibility we have to live up to their expectations in drama. We wouldn’t want it any other way, yeah?