1. We are incredible collaborators. This is the core of our teaching practice. We teach kids to be collaborative and in doing so deeply etch these skills into our own lives and actions. We know how to yield to the ideas of others and extend on the possibilities together. We teach this practice daily.
2. We also know how to work independently. Many of us are the only Drama specialists in our schools meaning we often have to work on our own which leads to resourcefulness and an ability to network beyond the walls of our school.
3. We are risk takers. Yesterday we were in a workshop and we were told there was only room for some of us to participate in the practical component and the rest of had to observe the process. This process involved improvising and performing in front of your peers. It was interesting to watch the Drama Educators move straight into the space ready to take a risk, while the researchers sat as observers. And to be honest, as a shy person this is not easy for me to do (particularly in front of my peers), but I am a Drama Educator and therefore never play it safe.
4. We are disobedient. Now you are probably wondering why I am listing this as one of our beautiful qualities. Andrew Upton (Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company) in a keynote speech yesterday stated that “Disobedience is vital to all art.” It is essential to the creative process. If we never break the rules, never step outside the margins, how can we discover new ideas, new worlds, new ways of doing things?
5. We are open to working with others (other teachers, researchers, other fields) because we value relationship. In fact, we value relationship so much that we explicitly teach it.
6. We are creative and critical thinkers. We imagine. We play. We explore. We question. It is at the heart of our nature.
7. We love our students and place them at the forefront of what we do. Yes, of course other teachers do this too, but our love stems from the emotional and social connections we make with our students as they share elements of themselves and the world in which they live in our classrooms every day.
8. We are empathetic. Empathetic to those around us - students, parents, other teachers, administrators. When we play a character we embody them. We walk in their shoes. This is enlightening and liberating for both us and those we are empathising with.
9. We are passionate. Passionate about our subject. Passionate about Education. Passionate about making a difference in our classroom, our system, our world. Nothing can suppress this.
10. We are joyful. Oh boy are we joyful! We know how to dance like no-one is watching. We know how to teach through play. We know the importance of taking time out to have fun with our students. And this joy is catching.
So please, do not underestimate us.
Imagine if all Educators were incredible collaborators but at the same time able to work independently.
Risk takers, rule breakers, creative and critical thinkers yet open to working with others.
Loved their students deeply, were empathetic, passionate and oh so joyful.
Our schools would look a little different don't you think?