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Case study: teaching drama

Andy Chaplin, drama teacher

Andy Chaplin, drama teacher

Andy’s first experience of teaching came from working with young people in theatres while he was acting. After pursuing a career in acting for a number of years – with various jobs in between – Andy decided to combine his love for drama and working with kids to become a teacher. “When I first started teaching, I realised it was the job for me. Not only was it something I could do, and do well, but it was the first time I felt I was getting something back, and really enjoyed it.”

With an industry background, Andy takes his subject very seriously. “It’s important to incorporate the history of theatre and acting, and to standardise everyone’s knowledge. It’s also essential for the curriculum to adapt and respond to changes within the industry – after all, that’s what we’re preparing the students for.” He also highlights the spiritual, moral, social and cultural themes that can be explored through drama, and how important these can be for a child’s development.

The most challenging thing about teaching drama, for Andy, is making sure that everything the children learn has some relevance to what is happening in the industry. But for Andy, that’s also the most exciting part – because it means everything is constantly changing and no two years are the same. “As a drama teacher, you’re constantly having to adapt – and I love that. I make sure I regularly visit the theatre and watch films, which I think is important for any drama teacher – because if you don’t have the passion for your subject and the commitment to perfect your craft, you won’t be able to share that with the kids.”

Andy’s favourite thing about teaching drama – and teaching as a whole – is how varied the job is. “You can go from a year 7 lesson where you’re having to stop yourself laughing at the things they’re doing, to a year 11 rehearsal where you’re discussing juxtaposition and other industry terms.” Dispelling the myth that teaching is just a job for the sake of holidays, Andy describes teaching as a life-changing career that will give as much back as you’re willing to put in.

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