Why I Teach
"Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I will remember.
Involve me and I will understand."
I have been teaching all around Southern California for a few years now. My dream is to teach theater arts to children and teenagers. I was lucky enough to have access to incredible arts training from a very young age and am a graduate of the Academy for the Performing Arts High School, the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts professional actor training program, and hold a B.A. in Theater Performance from California State University Long Beach.
Though I have primarily trained in theater since I was a young child my love for the art form has given me the opportunity to strengthen numerous other educational disciplines. One cannot study Shakespeare without developing a fierce love of words and an ability to decipher complex literature and heightened language. I excel at vocabulary, sentence structure, reading comprehension and public speaking. It has been my bread and butter for years. I do not know a greater joy than helping a student grow and learn. The confidence and independence that can be gained from learning a new skill is amazing. It gives me a sense of purpose to provide a student with that confidence.
Now allow me to gush about my particular love of theatrical education.
Theater education is interactive! To participate you must invest your mind, body, and heart. I have often heard the old saying “Those who can’t do teach.” Oh how that aggravates me! Teaching is such a joy and a privilege. It is a choice, not a backup plan. Particularly when you are able to teach something you love. I firmly believe that an education in theater not only produces better performers but kinder and more thoughtful human beings. I have witnessed some truly wonderful qualities grow in children when they are given the opportunity to study theater. A true theater education does more than produce a play.
What does theater education have the ability to do you ask?
Encourages team work, and strengthens a child’s sense of community.
The cast of a play is not made up of stars and chorus members. A cast is a team. Pure and simple. This team shares the common goal of telling a story. Every single member of this team shares the responsibility and the joy of bringing that story to the audience and you are strongest together. It is a gift that they grow together and present to the world. As a child I remember leaving each closing night performance in tears. I was not sad to say goodbye to a killer role or leave my spotlight behind. I was sad to no longer see the other members of my team on a daily basis. By the end of a production the cast I had been working with people felt more like members of my family than peers. Working on a common goal together, and experiencing that rush of success when the goal comes to fruition creates a strong and beautiful bond.
The philosophy of theater is one of self reliance and self discipline. When other members of your team are counting on you, there is nothing to do but step up to the plate. I have seen many self proclaimed “space cadets” turn into the most reliable people in the room simply by working on a production. Make no mistake, I will be asking a great deal of your children, but they will soon love the results of giving all they have to give!
Boosts Reading Levels
When you bring the page to the stage it all starts with reading the words first. You children will read every day they step into my class. They will read every night when they go home. Some will be so eager they will read in the car on the way to both places! There is no escaping the written word. Even those who are just beginning to learn to read will find themselves just a little hungrier to become proficient. Suddenly reading has a practical and fun application! Suddenly it is cool to tackle difficult words and read out loud.
I will never forget a letter I received from one of my students. In it she told me that she had always had a hard time making friends. She felt as though she would always be the little girl in the corner quiet and unnoticed. Then she joined drama. Slowly but surely she said she was finally able to show “the real [her].” I was incredibly touched and surprised that she thanked me for that experience. She was new and I had noticed that she was on the shy side, but in a team environment no one is ever alone. By the second week of rehearsals she was always with a group of girls giggling and laughing together. I never would have guessed she had previously had trouble making friends.
A theater classroom is a safe place. A place where failure is really opportunity in disguise, breakdowns are breakthroughs, and where no judgement of others will be tolerated. When you ask children to jump you must also create a safe place for them to fall. Once that is established children feel free to be themselves without fear of being bullied or teased. They often find their uniqueness is actually what gets them praise.
When you ask someone to play a character onstage you are asking them to look through another person’s eyes. They must think about this other person’s dreams, desires, fears and actions. Then they must take on those dreams, desires, fears, and actions as their own. They cannot simply observe. Theater education creates children with the ability to not just sympathize with others but to truly try and feel what another person is going through. I believe it is for this reason that I often see theater students take such supreme care of each other. If a child is hurt or sad in class/rehearsal there are sometimes too many students wanting to be the one to help. Theater can cultivate kindness.
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