13 10 2012

I LOVE my job!

As a Drama teacher in a secondary school – no day is ever dull. There are three main reasons that I love my job:

  • My passion for my subject specialism.
  • Working with young people.
  • Having the best colleagues that anyone could ever hope for.

I have always had a passion for Drama and Theatre. I have myself studied a wide variety of genres, although I specialise in the classics and have an enduring love of voice work and the power of language. To this day I continue to study my subject area and it gives me great pleasure to do so. I have always been inspired by the way in which the stage provides a forum for the exploration of the human condition. In a society that is morally and spiritually bankrupt there is a need for a context to analyse the themes and issues that arise in modern life and highlight the truth. This is, for me, a compelling reason to study theatre.

Despite setting the same tasks with lower school classes every academic year, I am always amazed by the creativity of my student’s responses and find myself both laughing & crying on a daily basis when they find new ways of surprising me with a new spin on an old idea. With exam classes (age 14+) at the beginning of the academic year I challenge them to reinterpret a classic text but to make it relevant to a modern day audience – it is amazing that even students violently opposed to the very idea of studying Shakespeare can access the texts when it is presented in the right way. I have the privilage of working with the most inspiring group of young people who will shape the future of this country one day – for better or for worse. I am reminded daily of my duty to inspire their young minds and ensure that they are prepared for whatever the future may hold for them.

Unfortunately, I am also tasked with babysitting some total dipsticks.

I have been blessed with fantastic exam classes – students who have gone above and beyond and created work of a standard that exceeds all expectations who have huge potential in the future should they continue to pursue this subject. It is of course frustrating that some of my most talented students move on to pursue and develop other skills; such as sports or more traditional ‘academic’ subject areas, (although I would argue that every subject has its own theory, history, specialist language and skill set and that each is in its own way ‘academic’).

I know that many people do not value my subject area – that is OK. It is a challenging subject and lets face it, there may be a glut in the market for people who have the skills and expertise to depict realistic ‘trees’ as oddly there appears to be little demand for such skills in the workplace.

However the life skills covered in Drama lessons are transferable and apply to many different job roles. For example we can all benefit if we have the ability to express ourselves in a clear but non-confrontational way as this can determine success in getting what you want – from conflict resolution in your social life to compromising with a romantic partner or convincing Senior Management at work to embrace your ideas and act on them.

In situations involving conflict or differences of opinion, the ability to read the facial expressions and body language of others is crucial if you are to find areas of compromise and means of resolving difficut issues. It is equally valuable to know how you come across to other people. I.e. if your facial expression, body language and mannerisms, that you perceive to project your confidence; are misinterpreted as arrogance or contempt, this can be a major barrier to success.

Whether or not you believe that Drama as a discreet subject has a place within our education system, I have seen first hand the impact on students who study Drama and the sense of achievement they get by taking risks on stage and experimenting with new ideas. One of the highlights of my career was handing out exam certificates to 13 year old students who had agonised all summer waiting for their results. The reaction of the students was heart warming and due to the high attainment levels of the cohort, I had the great pleasure of watching every student in a class of 45 realise that their hard work and dedication had been worth the effort. The benefit to their self esteem was priceless.

I also have the two most amazing colleagues. I like many people I work with, but my own department is small (three of us) and I cannot imagine what my job would look like without the two fantastic women I work with on a daily basis. I thank God every day that they have become some an intrical part of my life.

It is easy to complain about work and I do so regularly but I would be hard pressed to find a more rewarding job role that challenged and inspired me as much as teaching.




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