The obvious answer to the above question is probably to teach in a school. After all, that is where most students will get their first taste of the performing arts. Nonetheless, there are many different pathways for certified teachers to take, whether they decide to opt for a public or private educational establishment, a primary or a secondary school, or at colleges or universities.
Remember, if you are looking to find vacancies abroad, then you may need to look out for roles at ‘kindergarten’, ‘elementary school’ or ‘high school’, particularly in the US and some foreign yet English-speaking territories.
You also need to check the prerequisites for becoming a teacher abroad and the licencing you’ll need, as some teacher education programs in the UK aren’t recognized by other countries as valid certification. This means you will need to get enrolled on another training program to gain further teaching certificates or reconsider your prospective registration or application. Even a placement as a teaching assistant may ask you to qualify in a different way, so eligibility can sometimes be a problem for teachers who want to apply to work in schools in another country.
If you have a teacher’s certificate or are currently training to become a teacher through a teacher training course in the UK like a PGCE or GTP, then you may be wondering what your options are for teaching your specialist subject and developing your teaching career.
Most UK schools and colleges will offer Drama as a standalone subject at GCSE and A Level, as numerous exam boards have set out modules in Drama in correspondence with the curriculum.
Most Drama teachers working in secondary schools will be required to work full-time to meet the needs of the faculty, but may have the opportunity to job-share or to work part-time if that arrangement suited them.
Primary school teachers often teach lessons simultaneously to their classes and therefore will usually be all-rounders, teaching English, Maths, Music Humanities and Sciences. As such, most of these teaching professionals will work around the clock too!
If you’d rather stick to Drama as your teaching content but like the sound of having some variety in school life, then you may wish to look into becoming a freelance teacher. This means that you can travel from school to school teaching about your specialism and get the opportunity to meet staff in numerous faculties.
Happiness for you might be having a varied week, like the life of a freelance teacher. Photo credit: Masa__Israel on VisualHunt
Teaching Drama to primary and secondary school aged children is challenging.
Since the majority of young pupils won’t have gone out of their way to choose and study Drama as an option, like those preparing to study it as a vocational subject, you may be faced with students who either have no interest whatsoever in the content matter or don’t like dramatic studies. Meanwhile, it can be very rewarding to see other students blossom whilst completing your classes and realise that Drama is a subject they wish to pursue in their next level of further education.
Teaching Drama to college students, undergraduates or postgraduates can be quite intimidating because of the fact that they are older and know their own minds, however, it can also be a very rewarding job because of the importance and impact that the qualification could have on their lives, like the recognition that they want to be a professional actor or even enter the educational field themselves.
Most pupils you will teach will have specifically chosen to follow this path as a degree, whether that be because they had a really inspiring Drama teacher at secondary school, they love the subject, or because they want to qualify with an appropriate endorsement to one day become an actor in the entertainment industry.
Qualifying as a Drama teacher doesn’t mean that you are tied to working for the Department of Education. The great thing about having a discipline like teaching is that you can often apply this to other hiring roles that might bring you more happiness, flexibility and a better work-life balance. Some interrelated jobs that do or don’t involve working with children (like certain vacancies for the council or independent certified establishments offering pupils alternative certification or licencing) can enable you to awarded with better salaries than school teaching positions.
For example, many individuals seek independent Drama classes in the evening and at weekends, whether just for fun or because they want to gain confidence through performing. Perhaps they are looking to be a part of a village play, or they have bigger dreams to tackle the world of entertainment. Either way, Drama lessons can provide them with a basis and specific skills to build upon.
Teaching evening or weekend classes may appeal to you because you have a family to support during the day, or because you have a second job that you don’t want to or can’t afford to give up (let’s face it, most people who have just paid for tuition or training will be seeking to earn enough money to pay their loans back!). Furthermore, teaching adult classes might be better for you because of the maturity that participants bring to classes and their eagerness to learn, particularly if they are paying fees to be instructed by someone with a teaching licence.
If setting up a business of your own, you may not even need a teaching qualification or Master’s degree. However, for your own credibility, being highly trained with appropriate qualifications will really benefit you and your reputation. In addition, if you are to accept under 18s in your classes, all staff will need to have an up to date DBS (Disclosure of Barring Services).
Another option that could be available to you is to become a private tutor for school-aged children, a position that mixes pedagogy with flexibility towards working standards (which don’t often come hand in hand). Private tutors are high in demand at the moment because of how increasingly hard GCSEs are becoming, and allow you to schedule less formal one-to-one lessons with struggling pupils to help them to understand the subject better and help them to gain a set of basic skills or an increased level of learning.
Why teach privately? To receive a better financial reward and still be able to be the positive intervention that gets students passing their exams, sometimes offering them the skills and knowledge they need for their route towards their chosen doctorate.
If you don’t like the long days, you could become a private tutor. Photo credit: vancouverfilmschool on Visual hunt
Not all clients have a poor level in the subject, some may already be working at a very good pace but looking for some extra help because they have a flair for it and want to do the best they possibly can in their exams.
The beauty of being a tutor to GCSE or A Level students is that you can be flexible and you can take on as little or as much work as you like, with terms or contracts usually rolling from term to term. If you have recently left a job as a teacher, then you may still have some contacts who can recommend you to parents.
On a similar note, you might find that online lessons really take off for you. Whether you start a YouTube channel and get sponsored, or you act as a private tutor by Skype to pupils all over the world, technology means that you can really make this line of work work for you.
How easy would it be to do what you love from the comfort of your own home, with no expenses at all? No travel, no phone bills, no holiday deductions (with great deals on roaming, you could even work when abroad if you really wanted to!).
What’s more, being a mobile teacher opens you up to so many more pupils around the globe so there is endless work to be found. Even if you are tutoring a pupil from Japan, you can get around the time difference issue because you can work from your home office whenever you want.
With technology so cheap and easy, you could use Skype to tutor pupils all over the world! Photo credit: diane horvath on Visual Hunt
Many people, even those with qualified teacher status, forget that there many different avenues they can choose to go down with their teaching degree.
For example, places like children’s hospitals or hospices, which care for kids with life-changing or life-threatening conditions, are in need of teachers to help their patients to continue with their education goals. Not only are lessons important to make them feel like normal children or teenagers, they are also a great way of distracting them from any negativity in their lives.
What better subject to teach these children than Drama, where they can completely lose themselves in a play or feel liberated by portraying a fascinating character?
Similarly, nursing homes might also call on the help of qualified Drama teachers to set up activities for their patients to participate in week in, week out.
The question of where you work really is up to you. If it is new challenges and exciting opportunities that you are keen to find, then teaching at an international school like those found in Dubai or Thailand might be a great choice for you.
On the other hand, if you are a home bird and are looking to make your life easier, then a job in your local school (it could even be an establishment that you attended as a child with fond memories) or a job that makes the rewards of teaching more about you, like being a self-employed tutor, could be your best bet.
As previously mentioned, with technology being so advanced and knowledge being such a valuable skill (one that people will pay good money for), your options as a teacher really are endless.