Most drama teachers are experienced theater professionals—veteran actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, and technical theater artists.
Drama Teacher at a Glance
Whether they set their theater career aside or continue it alongside teaching as teaching artists, most drama teachers are experienced theater professionals—veteran actors, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, and technical theater artists. While almost all drama teachers possess bachelor's degrees, usually only those who work at the college, university, or conservatory level are required to have master's degrees. Successful drama teachers can go on to become the director of the school's drama program, or enter the more lucrative field of high-level acting coaching, specializing in fields such as voice and accent coaching or movement coaching. Those who deeply appreciate the way theater changes and improves lives might be suited to careers as a nonprofit artist or drama therapist.
Drama teachers typically work for primary schools, secondary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, conservatories, and private acting schools. Those with a special license may work for nurseries, day cares, preschools, or kindergartens as early childhood arts educators. Nonprofit artists might teach in nontraditional settings like hospitals, prisons, community centers, homeless shelters, and foreign countries. Experienced actors and teachers might also work for television and film companies as professional coaches—or be self-employed.
- Theater history
- Creating a curriculum
- Classroom management
- Attention to detail
Drama teachers must possess sharp attention to detail, leadership skills, and enormous patience, persistence, and creativity. Compassion and empathy go a long way to helping drama teachers better understand the mindset of their students and how to increase their mastery of the material. Additionally, teachers should be familiar with a wide variety of literature and possess the analytical skills to dissect scripts and provide notes to students.
Schoolteachers tend to have consistent daily schedules that may include after-school assignments, leading student clubs, and rehearsing for productions. Private acting teachers and on-set coaches have more unpredictable work schedules, including last-minute sessions with students facing an impending audition, or directors in need of assistance while already in production.