There is an inherent joy in teaching and, when teaching children, a lot of the fulfilment is in just being with them. There is an emotional connection when you see that look on your student’s face that tells you they finally grasp what you are instilling in them. At that moment they have an expression born of happiness, accomplishment and release. Another joy is the gift of giving through teaching as there will always be someone who needs you, someone who needs something from you. To teach something that you are passionate about is particularly rewarding.
Drama education is a wonderful means of stimulating creativity in problem solving. It can challenge students’ perceptions about their world and about themselves and provide them with an outlet for emotions, thoughts and dreams and they can, if only for a few moments, become another person.
Drama also helps students develop tolerance and empathy. An actor must be able to really understand how the world looks through another person’s eyes. In today’s increasingly polarised and intolerant culture, the ability to understand others’ motives and choices is critical.
In a creative drama lesson, students respond to a variety of stimuli and may listen to or read a story or poem, or hear a piece of music, or see a painting and plan how to interpret it dramatically. They may develop a plot, choose characters, create an imaginary setting, and then improvise dialogue. Together with their audience, consisting of students not performing, they evaluate the performance, decide what was good and what could be improved, then perform again, applying the suggested changes. The players and audience then exchange roles.
Clearly this process is a highly collaborative one, develops quick-witted spontaneous thinking, problem-solving, poise and presence, concentration, and both conceptual and analytical thinking skills. Making a piece of theatre with students encourages compromise and commitment, which are all skills necessary for any work environment.