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The Best Route to Becoming a High School Drama Teacher

by Samuel Hamilton

Fields related to the arts such as drama and music should play an ever-increasing role in a child’s K-12 education, educational specialist Ken Robinson says. This is because such creative fields bolster students’ confidence and creativity, which bleeds into other fields. It makes the students well-rounded and expressive. Getting a job as a high school drama teacher could allow you to contribute to this educational path.

College Coursework

As with other high school teachers, high school drama teachers require significant coursework in their area of teaching specialty. This includes at least a minor in theater and performing arts at a four-year university but, according to Robert Maloy and Irving Seidman, you’d be better off majoring in theater and performing arts. Obviously, you will need to fulfill the coursework requirements for a theater degree from your college, but you might also take electives or apply for accredited internships that can give you some classroom experience. Maloy and Seidman suggest classes related to performance in the classroom or public speaking, or internships that allow you to work with young students or students transitioning into college.

Teaching Coursework

In addition to drama coursework, you will also need to take courses related to the practice of teaching. This can be accomplished by following an educational track in your four-year university, or by acquiring a graduate degree in teaching such as the MA in Educational Theater at NYU. Educational tracks require you to take teaching-related courses alongside those in your major, while a graduate degree will focus exclusively on teaching-related courses, and will probably require you to complete a teaching practicum or internship. When you’ve completed your theater and teaching coursework, you will need to take a teacher certification exam such as the PRAXIS II test in Theater.

Experience and Practice

In addition to internships and other teaching-related positions, Maloy and Seidman recommend acquiring as much classroom or teaching-related experience and practice as possible. For example, if your university has an orientation program for incoming freshmen, you should volunteer for such a program. You might also initiate a teaching outreach program within the theater department in which a group of college theater students visit local high schools to lead theater or performance workshops. Further, you might volunteer to assist a high school theater director, either at a local high school or your hometown high school.

Versatility

Unfortunately, there are very few high school teaching jobs that focus exclusively on drama, theater, and performance. Often, these responsibilities fall to teachers in other departments, such as the music department or the English department. Consequently, Maloy and Seidman strongly recommend adding some versatility to your coursework and experience, either by minoring in a field like English, or by seeking a double major in theater and some other field that has an associated high school teaching position, such as history, math, or even counseling.

References

About the Author

Samuel Hamilton has been writing since 2002. His work has appeared in “The Penn,” “The Antithesis,” “New Growth Arts Review" and “Deek” magazine. Hamilton holds a Master of Arts in English education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Arts in composition from the University of Florida.

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