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11 Comments

  1. I want to know if aim a minority in the drama community for having suffered s complete nervous breakdown and now in the deep waters of depression.
    It’s not all just being a drama teacher but it has certainly played a part.

    1. Colleen, I think there is a lot to be said with the creative output necessary to run rehearsals outside of school time. We are not just coaches to students like swimming or running clubs – we have to get kids to give themselves creatively as well as direct them! No offence against Sport teachers, but they don’t have to design a running track that also appeals to a paying audience!
      In this we can start to feel utterly depleted emotionally so I don’t think you are alone in feeling this way.

  2. I know this is an older post but I was looking around because of my situation. My other half has said they have had enough of me giving up my family time for rehearsals and doing too many shows coming home after 10pm. Does anyone else get this? I tried to explain it is part of the job but she said that beyond the curriculum I can choose not to do stuff.

  3. Yes it can be a frustrating job, but it is also the best job in the world. Not every school is the same and if a school doesn’t treat it’s drama teachers well then my advice is to go elsewhere. In my teaching career I have worked with some really dreadful headteachers and some marvellous and appreciative headteachers. Where i am now I have a beautiful theatre, great students, enthusiastic parents and all the artistic freedom one could ask for. Yes there is always paperwork but there is no job in the world without paperwork, and there is nothing more rewarding than teaching those students who have problems elsewhere in their education. Perhaps that’s because I was a difficult student myself and found theatre was my lifeline.

  4. All true, all true! I might add to this list of dark side issues, this tidbit. My last period Theatre Arts 1 classes have become a “dumping ground” for students who have no other place to go. If our guidance office can’t find a place in another class, they send the very uninterested students to my class where they insist on disrupting the learning process every single day. Perform? Not on your life! Complain? All the time! Criticize the teacher and the other students? Every chance they get! Is there an answer to this dilemma?

    1. No! Unfortunately. The kids have to go somewhere and we are often the unlucky recipients. Take solace that every now and then some of these ‘lost’ students ‘find’ themselves in Drama. Drama is sometimes the very first time that they can find their voice. I have had students who came to my class, arms crossed, minds closed, but left with a love of performance. Creating assessment matrices that enable students to self-direct their learning can really help to engage these students. It is not perfect, but sometimes you will change a young life in a way that I think few other subjects can.

    2. Hi Beth. I was just re-reading this post when I decided to read through the comments and saw yours. May I suggest your try and re-direct the non performers towards stage-crew, tech-crew, hair and make-up crew, media crew or even front of house crew? We have developed these spaces at my school and there is quite a lot of students who want to be a part, but not perform. There is actually some credibility in being part of Tech Crew! And a growing list of interested participants. I know this means even more energy going out, but it has a pay back when you don’t have to operate everything and can actually pay attention to the performances!

  5. I agree. I don’t think the idea, promulgated by too many school administrators, that all the pressures and expectations placed upon Drama teachers is simply part of the job. Drama teachers have no fewer expectations placed upon them, as far as improving student outcomes and growing as teachers, than any other teacher on staff and nor should they. Yet this expected to happen at the same time as these teachers are also expected to direct and produce one, two, three co-curricular performances and do the sound for a school function and organise lighting for a guest speaker and so on and so on. It is about equity. It is about fairness. It is about allowing professional educators to do their jobs. We are professional educators. We are passionate about the education of young people. We are passionate about The Arts. But our passion does not mean we should have to matyr ourselves and our families. If you are passionate about teaching Drama, then stand up for your rights as an educator. This will enrich the profession and, most importantly, continue to give our students amazing opportunities to find their voice.

  6. One of the ‘joys’ not on your list is recording everything you’ve spent to stage a show. Whilst it is necessary there sometimes feels like you need to justify why this one or this much. Im lucky my school does appreciate the final product but recording every single shekel and the administrative code that accompanies it as well as organising the receipts is not what I’m good at – drama is.

    1. This is probably the bane of many Drama teachers’ lives. I think that very often the creative thinkers, learners, doers are, almost by their very nature, not predisposed to the ‘administivia’ side of the job. We’re more Vsevolod Meyerhold and less John Maynard Keynes.