I was talking with a mom earlier this morning, and she said something very interesting. She said that her daughter loves my drama classes, and talks about me frequently when it comes to drama. Although I’m glad I inspire the kids, it’s not the point of this story. What is interesting is she followed up with a different comment, one that puts the previous comment into perspective.
Her daughter now goes to an arts academy and is currently rehearsing for a show. She explained how she would practice her pieces and be full of energy and affect while she rehearsed at home. However, when she got to school, in front of the teacher and the other kids, she quieted way down and barely moved on stage. She became muted. This was her daughter’s perspective.
Her mom was trying to figure out what had changed. Because, when she was in my plays, all of her character and energy shined very bright on the stage. (She played an awesome Mowgli!) She asked her daughter why it is different being in one of my plays versus what she is doing right now. Her daughter already knew the answer. She said the environment that I create for the kids lets them feel free to make mistakes and be creative, without being judged.
I have always had a lot of energy when I work with kids. Perhaps it’s the combination of caffeine and ADHD, or the thrill of just being up in front of a group. Regardless, I just have so much fun and I am not afraid to be a dork in front of the kids. I know not every teacher is like this, nor do they have to be. But, the real point here is the environment you create for your kids. When it comes to theater and drama, the ability to express yourself, feel emotions, be crazy, and most importantly, be creative, is imperative. If you can build this environment for your kids, to feel safe putting everything out there without being judged, and applauding their trials regardless of the outcome, then you have set up an environment for success!
Environment is King. Allowing your kids to Blossom in the garden you build is critical to the success of your plays, your program, and more importantly, the growth of these kids.