‘Teachers are the spark they need. But teachers need their own spark.’
Yvette Jackson, The Pedagogy of Confidence
As teachers we spend a great deal of time letting our students know about opportunities to get involved in local workshops, theatre programmes, summer residencies, courses which will help develop their skills and so on. However, on the whole we are bad at seeking out these opportunities for ourselves. It can be easy to get bogged down in the day to day dramas of school life and forget that it is so important to nurture one’s own creativity. I remember applying for money from my school for a PD opportunity and there was a question ‘When was your last PD?’ I realised in the four years I had been at the school, I had never applied for any PD. The money was there each year but others were benefiting from it, not me.
Of course it can be hard to find good PD – whether it is pedagogical or theatre specific. That’s where ISTA’s programme of Studios is an absolute godsend. In the last year alone, participants have had the opportunity to develop their understanding and practice in a diverse range of theatre forms from mime with the incredible Marcel Marceau trained Bill Bowers, to Fenella Kelly delivering a once in a lifetime chance to study Kathakali in its birthplace of Kerala, Southern India. Who wouldn’t be racing to their administration begging for PD money to have either of those experiences?
This autumn I am leading two very different Studio’s – one on devising and one on middle school curriculum development.