Schooling Magazine

The Perils of Being a Young Acting Teacher

By Adam Stadius @AdamStadius
Think of your best Teacher, picture their face, their mannerisms, the way they speak, the way they teach....
My favorite secondary school teacher was an English teacher, he was incredibly authoritative, had some strict rules, some of which felt silly at the time, but looking back he ran a very good class.  We listened, we learned and we respected him.  Good job, year 8 English was definitely my favorite year, though I definitely had a crush on my next teacher...another story.
When you ask most people about their favorite teacher it often wasn't the one who was 'down with the kids' or cool, it often tended to be about how effective they were, did they make you learn?  Their knowledge, the quality of their lessons, and not always about being fun.  Though that was always a benefit.
Having gone through 6 years of establishment training as an Actor I had a whole host of teachers in Singing, Acting, Dance and so on.  Many were great, a small number of them inspirational, a few forgettable and a number of whom I have become friends with, something to be very grateful for.  But needless to say, I've seen a good few, and had a good number of various teaching styles to then draw upon as a teacher myself, and a few I try my best to emulate.  I always aim to be the teacher who just knows everything; about acting, politics, history, theories etc.  I'm still learning, but someday that'll be me.  I still love to learn, something I think is important for all teachers.
The tricky thing with having the aims I do, is being seen as a 'young' teacher, maybe it's because I have 'youngest-child-of-the-year-syndrome'.  However, my target audience would not perceive me as THAT much older/wiser/more experienced and I can often imagine will think 'what can I learn from him then?  What has he got to teach me?'.  The second drawback was my decision to go straight in to teaching.  Something which I'm not very proud of, however, I do believe that the fact I have no perceived "credits" distinctly adds another layer of judgment.  'What's he done?'  'What can he offer?' The answer to which is, plenty.  As quite a few people would attest to:
Some feedback from a recent Mesiner Workshop
If I believe in it, and build it, they will come.  Things are starting to move, my North-East Masterclasses have been fantastic on all occasions,  I have a fantastic job in a wonderful school in BRIT and Freelancing in London is picking up (slowly, but surely).  These have involved professionals, drama school trained, drama school training and students from all walks of life, including my actor friends which has been daunting at first, but they all have a few things in common, a desire to learn, a trust in me, and the fact they are all fabulous.  But I still need more.  In the end it's establishing my name so that people want to work with me, rather than me whoring myself out for customers.  But it will come.
What about you?  Actors and none-actors.  What qualities have you looked up to in a teacher? Do successful Actors/Practitioners in their field make for the best teachers?  Is age a relevant factor?  Or is it maturity?  Comment, or drop me a tweet.

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