Philosophy of Teaching

I truly believe that theatre not only teaches students about the art form, but transforms the lives of young people through learning invaluable life skills and gaining a better sense of self. Drama students learn everything from how to portray a character on stage to set design and stage lighting, while also learning how to take risks, support one another, think quickly on their feet, speak in public, defend an idea, and tell important stories. Together, these skills teach students to be more empathic individuals, build self-esteem, and instill in them the importance of teamwork and working toward a common goal.

During my time at numerous schools and summer programs, I’ve worked with hundreds of students, including students with special needs, across many ages and diverse backgrounds. Middle School and High School are significant years in regard to personal development and growth, where students are exploring themselves and discovering their multi-faceted identities. I strongly believe that teachers are also mentors and I work hard to create a sense of community with my students where they can feel comfortable, safe, and accepted for who they are.

Throughout my time at Hawthorne Brook Middle School, my fondest memories are having students share with me how theatre class and being part of after-school drama has impacted their lives. This year, one of the leads in my play has been struggling with being bullied at school specifically because she works hard and excels in numerous academic areas. She often seeks me out during the day for comfort and to share that because of my class and the show after school, she has a place that she feels heard, valued, and that feels like family.

I do my best to create a safe and accepting environment by personally engaging in ongoing learning, starting conversations, and advocating for more diversity and inclusion at my current school. Recently, one of my students shared with their counselor that they identify as non-binary. The counselor then sent out information regarding gender identity and helpful resources for supporting the LGBTQ+ community to teachers and staff. In order to make sure that this student felt accepted in my classroom, I made a conscious effort to ask them directly, in private, about their pronouns. That way I could not only respect their identity, but also model and normalize correct use of pronouns to the rest of the class.

These experiences, along with many others, have cultivated my philosophy of teaching. It is my job as a theatre educator to not only make my students better performers, designers, and technicians, but to help them become better people. From the beginning, my students know that I have high standards for hard work and dedication, but also expect kindness, respect, and acceptance from and for all my students

 

© 2023 by Nicola Rider. Proudly created with Wix.com
 

  • LinkedIn Clean

See my LinkedIn page