Empathy and the Arts
A teacher’s role is to educate young people, but our job description goes far beyond lesson plans, tests, and quizzes. We spend an enormous about of time with our students. The phrase “in loco partentis” or “in place of the parent” comes to mind. As important as it is to prepare young people for college, it is of equal importance that they leave Northwest Catholic High School as kind, respectful, self-aware members of society. In the words of our fearless leader, Mr. Christian Cashman, “We are Northwest Catholic High School. We educate the whole person: mind, body, spirit, and imagination.”
As a performing arts teacher, I am blessed to work in the integrative discipline of theatre. On stage we use our mind, body, spirit and imagination in concert through creativity. We dance and sing and act and build and paint. All of these skills and many others go into creating a production. This said, if I had to choose ONE skill that kids take away from theatre arts it would be EMPATHY. Theatre allows us to walk in another person’s shoes by creating characters. Acting out stories helps young artists see the world through the eyes of a stranger. By exploring the human condition students are given a wonderful opportunity to define our lives by understanding, and kindness. Each show breaks our hearts open just a little bit more. Every story- every actor- becomes a part of a whole. While not every Northwest drama student will go on to pursue the performing arts, I believe every Dramateur leaves Wampanoag Drive as a part of our theatre family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dramateurs Director and Choreographer, Performing Arts Teacher