Are you a theatre nerd? Love acting? Enjoy the dramatic arts? If you can say yes to any of these questions - but have felt apprehensive about pursuing a career in the entertainment industry - you don’t have to give up your dreams of performing.
While teaching is not always the first career choice that comes to the mind when we think of working in the entertainment field, it’s definitely worth considering if you want to build a career with your creative skill set. Not only will you apply your skills in the dramatic arts, you will also build a stable career that is professionally and creatively rewarding. Sure, teaching kids, teens, and even adults isn’t easy. But there are so many positives to being a drama educator that will outweigh the stressors of working as a teacher.
Of course becoming a drama educator takes more than simply having a theatre background. You must have a bachelor’s degree in different content areas, get teacher certification in the province you want to work in, and determine whether you want to work in secondary education or elementary education. Drama educators also need to find work in a board of education, develop pedagogical competencies, and likely have a career teaching other subjects before getting the coveted job of a standalone drama teacher.
While it may seem like a lot of work to build a successful teaching career, it’s worth the journey if you love the arts and can see yourself studying curriculum and instruction skills. Let’s explore the reasons why teaching is one of the most rewarding career choices for people with a background in the dramatic arts.
Learn everything you need to know about being a drama teacher in this article.
You Can Influence A Generation
As a teacher to young people, you have the astonishing ability to influence an entire generation who will remember you for years. Most people have an educator that - for better or worse - made a lasting impact on their lives. As a teacher, that power to influence is in your hands as well.
When you teach, the smallest remark, criticism, or piece of encouragement can stick in a pupil’s mind for years to come. In short, you will be a role model that your students can look up to as they spend hours in your presence on a daily basis. For young kids, teachers have a unique status and are often adored. Take your role as a teacher seriously, and you will have the special power that only teachers have.
Do you have a memory of a teacher that changed your life? Or some feedback or praise for a piece of writing you submitted? Did those remarks have an impact on your academic choices? Personally, Of course, the pendulum swings both ways - you can have a teacher that can make you think poorly of yourself and actually make you lose confidence. If you choose a career in education, check yourself regularly to ensure that you are always making a positive difference.
Pick teachable subjects based on your passions, and you will light the spark in your student’s thinking. If that passion is in the dramatic arts, who knows who you will influence in the future? You could indeed have the next Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington in your class. When they look back, they will think fondly of high school and the teachers that pushed them to pursue new learning and career goals.
As a teacher, you will be building relationships with students as well as emotional connections. Remember your role will be similar to that of a parent, and keep their best interests at heart. You may be writing their reference letters, and advocating for them if they experience challenging moments. If you’ve ever wondered if a teacher’s job is rewarding - you now know it goes beyond simply planning a lesson and assigning a grade. You are a leader, role model, counsellor, and influencer.
Learn more about becoming a drama teacher in Canada.
To Fulfil A Calling or Vocation
Nearly every teacher you meet will be dedicated to their work and feel a real sense of responsibility of their students. However, if you don’t feel like you were meant to teach, you may find that planning and teaching can be challenging, stressful, or tedious. People in this unfortunate position may find themselves pursuing other careers and leaving the teaching profession entirely.
Those that feel that teaching is a calling or a vocation will find that becoming a teacher is as natural as learning to ride a bike or throw a football. If you feel that teaching is ingrained in you, you will find it easy to decide to attend a teacher's college, volunteer in schools abroad, or become a tutor. Perhaps you come from a family of educators and want to follow in the footsteps of your parents and elders. Maybe you did a summer of volunteering abroad and learned that you couldn’t be anything else other than an educator.
If you feel that teaching is a calling you cannot ignore, that you have a natural desire to share knowledge and work with youth, then just become a teacher! Of course, you will want to make sure you have the appropriate qualifications and certifications to make this happen. Those who are in the process of finishing high school may find it beneficial to enrol in a concurrent program that will enable them to complete a degree and obtain teaching certification simultaneously; those who have finished university may want to volunteer in schools to make sure your application to teacher’s college will be as strong as possible. Should overseas teaching be your calling, make sure you are qualified to teach the curriculum being offered in the international school you want to teach in. Check out local job fairs to get all the details, or call the schools themselves to see if you have what it takes.
Build Your Confidence
Teaching isn’t just about building the skills of your students, it’s also about building your career and confidence as a professional, speaker, and leader. Sure, your students benefit from the outcomes of your lessons and tasks, but you learn in the process as well. You will become better at writing and creating content, speaking in front of audiences, multitasking, and thinking on your feet. You will become more proficient in using educational technology, leading meetings, spearheading initiatives, and organizing events. Your confidence and proficiency will grow alongside that of your students, and you will believe in yourself as an agent that can make things happen. Should you choose to pursue another career, you will have plenty of skills to transfer.
Nothing prepares you for facing the world more than facing an audience of students every week - students that will hang on to your every word and challenge your authority. Once you learn how to manage that first unruly class, you can take on the world!
Find out how to create fun lessons for your drama classes.
Get School Holidays
Being a teacher in a private or public school will give you a vacation package that is largely unparalleled in other professions. While many non-teachers will give you a hard time for it, getting long holidays is an undeniable perk of being a teacher. In Canada, this often includes 2 months of summer vacation, as well as a couple of weeks at the end of December and another week in the Spring.
If you have kids, having these holidays are great since your kids will also be home and you can plan vacations or at least save some money on childcare. Should you love participating in other activities, freelancing, travelling or volunteering, long holidays can be a major plus.
But don’t get too excited - travelling is extremely expensive during school holidays and you don’t get the benefit of taking a week off as you would in non-teaching careers. You will also likely use part of this time to plan ahead for the year, organize initiatives, assess students, or participate in meetings or professional development within your school board.
That said, you will always have some free time to look forward to, and regular breaks during which you can focus on self-care and family.
Build a Social Circle With Other Teachers
As part of a larger teaching staff, you will make lifelong friendships and professional networks. Of course, you will be spending time with a lot of kids too - but this will make your social interactions with adults all the more rewarding.
If you are lucky enough to be in a school with people you get along with, you can look forward to a social life every day with other professionals with similar academic backgrounds and careers as you. Find a group you can take lunchtime walks or coffee breaks with, and you will be looking forward to work every day. If your workplace is unionized, you can also benefit from the many special events planned by your local. Join conferences, groups on social media, and committees to make your time at work even more socially engaging.
Want to find out where you can work as a drama teacher? Read more.
Teaching is Fun
Teaching can be serious and demanding, but you can have fun while doing it! Especially if you are a teacher of drama.
When you have a large group of people, it becomes easy and competitive to play games, plan group activities, combine with other classes, and do creative work. In drama, you can get the kids doing improv or comedy sketches that will have you laughing. When you make your class fun, your kids will stay engaged and look forward to class - as will you!
Plan special parties, play Kahoots online, or simply get your kids outside for a soccer break or a walk. Take the time to have fun with your students. If you think it’s a waste of time, remember that team building can eliminate a lot of behaviour classrooms down the road. The relationships you build with your students are fundamental to their success in your classroom.
As a drama teacher, you will be on your feet all day and not at the helm of a laptop staring at a screen (unless you are teaching online, of course). Be a drama teacher and have one of the best careers you can ask for!
Become a Teacher
If you have determined that you want to become an educator - that the teacher salary is sufficient for your lifestyle, that you are willing to enroll in an education program, and that you are OK with teaching a subject outside of drama to get a job - then it’s time to start working toward getting your teacher licensure! In Canada, you cannot get a teaching license that will enable you to work nationally: you must get qualifications in your respective province.
One way to get started is to seek some mentoring. Find that amazing English or Math teacher that changed your life in high school, and ask them to tell you about their own career journeys and the various teaching positions they have held. Ask your mentors what knowledge and skills were the most important for being a school teacher.
Who knows, you may choose to pursue a Master’s degree or additional qualifications in Special Education if you discover that you are also passionate about education in addition to drama? No matter what, brace up for an exciting career ahead.