Do you want to teach the next generation of budding thespians? Well, you’re in the right place!
As a drama teacher, you will be responsible for guiding school students through some of the most important stages of their education, including their GCSEs and A-levels.
The majority of your time will be spent preparing lesson plans and teaching pupils in accordance with the national curriculum. However, teaching drama will give you license to use creative, interactive and engaging teaching methods, such as games, role-play, storytelling, hot seating and tableaux.
A drama teacher’s role, however, isn’t just about playing games and directing end-of-term plays. Drama courses do also involve written work from time to time. Indeed, you’ll also be responsible for marking students’ work and providing them with the necessary feedback, criticism, encouragement and support.
You’ll also be responsible for helping students prepare for crucial examinations and directing final performances, which will be watched and assessed by an external moderator. You may also get the opportunity to take part in events and projects outside of the classroom, such as taking pupils on theatre trips.
Teaching, however, is not all about working with young students. Frequently, you will have to attend meetings with other teaching staff, undertake in-service training and meet with pupils’ parents to discuss their progress at parents’ evenings.
On a pastoral support level, you may be required to provide counselling and guidance to students who are facing learning difficulties. This may involve referring students to other relevant authorities and professionals who may be able to help them.
Drama teachers also need to keep their skills fresh. Consequently, you’ll be required to keep up-to-date on new teaching methods and developments in the curriculum.
Salary & benefits
Drama teachers in England and Wales receive salaries based on a standardised pay scale. Newly-qualified drama teachers outside of London start their careers on £21,588 per annum, while those working in Greater London can earn between £22,626 and £27,000, depending on where they are specifically located. This takes into account the higher cost of living in and around London.
As drama teachers in England and Wales progress through their careers, their salaries will increase on an incremental basis towards £31,552 per annum outside of London, or £36,387 per annum in London.
If you become a drama teacher in Scotland, you will earn £19,997 as a newly-qualified teacher. This will gradually increase throughout your career to £34,200 per annum.
In England and Wales, some drama teachers eventually become Advanced Skills Teachers (ASTs). These teachers have the potential for higher earnings, ranging from £38,493 to £64,036 in London, and from £37,461 to £59,950 outside London. Similarly, in Scotland, experienced teachers who become Chartered Teachers can earn between £35,253 and £41,925 per annum.
Drama teachers receive around 13 weeks of annual leave each year. However, for the other 39 weeks, during term-time, teachers can expect early starts and a particularly busy working life.
Drama teachers’ official working hours correspond with their individual schools’ timetables. However, most teachers start earlier and end their working day much later than their scheduled lessons. Travel outside of the school campus is rare, except when taking pupils on school outings, such as theatre trips.
In order to become a drama teacher, you will need to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England and Wales or a Teaching Qualification (TQ) in Scotland. There are various ways that you can do this.
You could study an undergraduate degree which automatically gives you QTS, such as a BA in Education.
If your undergraduate degree does not grant you QTS, you could do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) or a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) if you study in Scotland.
Alternatively, you could pursue one of three other postgraduate routes into teaching:
- School-centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT),
- School Direct Training Programme
- Overseas Teacher Training Programme (OTTP).
All drama teachers will also have to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before they can work in schools.
Training & progression
On-the-job training for drama teachers involves doing Initial Teacher Training (ITT), which is comprised of 18 weeks’ practical training.
Newly-qualified Teachers (NQT) undergo a period of probationary evaluation in their first year of service, which is assessed over three academic terms. The assessment process involves individual professional development under supervision and evaluation against current national induction standards.
When it comes to career progression, you could become the head of department, move into a senior management role, or gain recognition as an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST in England and Wales) or Chartered Teacher (CT in Scotland).
Another possible option is to complete the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH), which trains people who want to become headteachers.
Alternatively, you could become a further education lecturer, an Ofsted inspector, or even work on an examination board. You could also explore opportunities for private tutoring and education consultancy.