When I was in high school, I was told I should start to think about what I would do as a chosen career. At the time, I had a keen interest in drama. It was my favourite course, by a long shot, and over the five years I spent in those classes, I developed a love of acting, and eventually an idea in my head that one day I’d do it for a living.
Grade 11 drama class – We have a student teacher and she’s telling us about her experiences in post-secondary. We ask a lot of questions – after all, we are all like-minded kids. Who takes Grade 11 Drama unless they are passionate about it? Something odd happens during this class. Her description of studying theatre in university completely turns me off of doing the same. She turns my plans upside down. Who wants to study theatre history? I just want to act, I don’t want to know who the famous Greek playwrights were. Decision made. Or so I think.
First year of university – I’m an undecided major. I figure I’ll take a bunch of different courses to see if something jumps out at me. Nothing does. Eventually, I realize I know exactly what I want to do, and I apply to a few theatre programs. My parents are not exactly impressed but luckily, they are supportive. The next year I am doing the first of two things I never thought I’d do: I’m studying theatre.
Third year – I come to the conclusion that theatre life is not for me. I do not think acting is a viable career for me and I know I don’t want to be working part-time to support myself while I struggle through audition after audition. I decide to try something out – I considered being a teacher once, why not give it a shot? I enroll in the appropriate courses for my fourth year, apply to teacher’s college, and am pleasantly surprised when I get in. Cool.
Teacher’s college – Hey, this is pretty great. I could do this. I’ll use my theatre experience and be a great drama teacher. English is my second teachable subject; it’s more of a challenge. In my practice teaching placements, I struggle and secretly hope I’ll never have to teach it.
Supply teaching: years 1-5 – It’s a tough market for teachers; too many of us, and not nearly enough jobs. I’m a supply teacher, working very consistently, thrown into a number of different classrooms. You name it, I’ve ‘taught’ it at this point. The funny thing is, there are far more English jobs than Drama. The funnier thing? I’m starting to like it.
16 October 2016 – I’m currently sitting at the computer in my English classroom. My students sit in front of me, Chromebooks in front of them, writing their own blog posts. This post is projected on the screen – the hope that they can see that the writing process isn’t always smooth (a great idea ‘borrowed’ from a respected colleague). I, the theatre major, am in my eighth year of teaching, predominantly English (and loving it) with a dash of Visual and Dramatic Arts.
For some people, a chosen career path is clear from a young age. I often envied those people. For others, like myself, it’s a constantly shifting role. What I’ve come to realize over the years is that the path you choose isn’t always the one you anticipate; in fact, it can downright surprise you.