NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to continue its Teachers of New Jersey series in 2018. This editorial series is curated by photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. These stories highlight the joys, struggles, and personal reflections that surround being a teacher.
“I teach language arts in Butler Township, on the border of Morris and Sussex counties. But I also just became the drama advisor this year. It is very interesting and very demanding, but I love it. The only experience I had before becoming a drama advisor was in my church where I did plays. It is a completely different scenario teaching high school students from teaching young kids at a church.”
“I think Drama class is very adaptable to other subjects and is very useful for succeeding in other areas of life. I teach them things that they can use in their other classes, like memorization techniques, focusing, and perseverance and grit. It helps kids to come out of their shell; it builds lifelong friendships, social skills, and self-confidence.”
“Other schools have dropped drama from their curriculum, but I think drama can be so helpful and useful, and I think it is a mistake for schools to cut it out. I am doing everything I can to keep the arts programs alive at our school. Every year we have a talent show, and we use that to try to raise the money necessary to keep the arts programs at our school. The money we raise goes to scholarships for kids to be able to participate in our arts programs.”
“The kids love the talent show. We have one kid that will play Michael Jackson music while painting a portrait of Michael Jackson. Another kid who will perform a contemporary dance, another girl who will tap dance, another student will play the cello, and three friends who will do The Three Stooges skits. I try to open it up to all of the kids. There is such a variety, and people love it.”
“As long as we get the money for the scholarships, we can keep the programs running in our school. So really it is up to the community to keep the programs alive. But this just drives me all the more to keep interest up for the students and the community for drama and their arts. I truly believe having the arts in our schools is so important for our school and our students, and I will continue to keep fighting to keep it alive.”