Drama Empowers Students

Rachel Horley joined the British School of Bucharest this academic year as a subject specialist Drama Teacher. She graduated from the University of Huddersfield, where she gained her BA in Drama and Master’s in Performance Research. Rachel, who started her career as a freelance educator 10 years ago, qualified as a teacher in 2015. For the past two years, Rachel was based in the Middle East, where she taught Drama across Primary and Secondary School.

Why did you go into teaching?

I was a disengaged student when I was at school. I enjoy engaging my students, lighting a fire in them and making them feel seen.

What made you want to join BSB?

The fact that I get to teach my subject as a specialism across so many Key stages.

How have you adjusted to life in Bucharest and at BSB?

I have adjusted well to life in Bucharest because I know that I can enjoy city life whilst not being too far away from the mountains (I love the outdoors). BSB has been an easy School to adjust to because everyone is so welcoming.

How is BSB different from schools you’ve previously taught in?

BSB manages to find the right balance between supporting both the students and the staff.

How does your prior teaching experience help you be a better teacher?

Each year, I search for new challenges professionally. Whether that be directing shows or teaching year groups I haven’t taught before. I like new experiences and I enjoy finding out who I am at the next level… and the next!

What makes a good Drama teacher?

Finding the balance between teaching and facilitating. Knowing when to lead and when to step back. It is about listening to the students and at times making yourself look silly in front of them (especially the younger students). It is about giving them the space to express themselves as well as giving them the tools to do it effectively.

How does Drama help students in their academic and personal life?

It consistently asks students to reflect, evaluate and justify.

It encourages students to communicate with a wide range of people on multiple levels. It develops self-awareness and confidence in how to use body language, facial expression and voice. It provides students with a vocabulary in which to communicate with clarity, precision and a strong sense of artistic vision. Drama is a subject that clearly develops skills that are useful in all aspects of life. Most magnificently, it develops confidence.

Why are role play and Drama important for every child?

It gives students opportunities to practise empathy, to see things from others’ perspectives. It empowers students in their ability to persuade, to dissuade or to present in multiple situations.

What is the most outstanding achievement you've had so far?

At my previous school in Abu Dhabi, I directed an Arabic speaking production. It was a new experience and incredibly challenging but it was certainly worth the effort. Students and staff from all parts of the Arabic speaking world joined forces and demonstrated just what can be achieved if you put your mind to something.

If you weren't a Drama Teacher, what would your dream job be?

I think I would love to be a hiking guide. I don’t have a great sense of direction though… Hmm. Maybe a history tour guide (Drama and History are best friends I think).

And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.

I write and (before COVID) perform poetry for fun!


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