Why Teach Drama?  A Defense of the Craft

If you are like me, you frequently find yourself trying to justify your existence as a Drama teacher. Teachers and parents often don't really understand what a classroom Drama teacher does, and they can question the importance of Drama class--especially since most classroom teachers feel pressured to get through a given curriculum in a given time, and Drama class necessarily shortens the classroom teacher's contact time. Those of us who work in Drama with and for Young People know instinctively that it is important, but we are not always easily able to communicate this understanding. Below is an essay I wrote in response to concerns in the school where I worked about the adding of Drama classes to the regular schedule. (You will probably feel that I've over-stressed the cross-curricular importance of Drama and under-stressed its intrinsic value as Art. But that's what the administration usually needs to hear. The purpose of this essay is to persuade non-artists of the value of Drama in an educational system that is--unfortunately, in my view--increasingly output-oriented.) Feel free to use all or part of this essay when you find yourself called upon to defend the teaching of Drama in schools. (For the record, it was quite effective for me.)