Teenagers are a delightful group to teach. They are creative “out of the box” thinkers because they still don’t know there are boxes. They understand emotions but not how to articulate them. They also get easily embarrassed or are overly confident. This age group is on a hormonal roller coaster that they can’t seem to get off. I’d be irritated all the time too.
Why do I love teaching this age? Teenagers allow me a space to learn with them. This age group has so many ideas about their world and not enough spaces to give voice to their views. They are in the messy process of actually finding their voice. I love creating that safe space.
As a drama instructor, that is the medium I use to help these teenagers. It has the ability to open people up to their life experiences, emotional journeys, and gain perspectives outside themselves. Would you like that for your teenager? Drama allows this unique opportunity to become someone else for a moment. In order to do that job well, an actor must first understand their inner world. They need to draw from who they are, to enhance or decrease parts of their personality to create a living, breathing character to portray. There is an emotional vulnerability that needs to be achieved that only happens by taking life experiences and using them to be real on stage. Any teenagers that go through this process start to understand themselves.
Finding your voice is not as scary as it sounds. It really is about understanding who you are and what makes you tick. Your voice is an expression of who you are with all the flaws, strengths, experiences you have learned from so far in life. Teenagers haven’t lived that long from a certain perspective. However, for me, they have lived way long enough to know a few things. In my classes, I like the fact that teenagers are new human beings I am meeting for the first time. I get to know them through their creative writing and dramatic expression. They make decisions and form opinions on storytelling that are not shallow but have depth usually not proffered to teenagers.
Allowing a person a space to practice their voice with respect for the process is to be honored. Teenagers deserve that space. They deserve the space to learn along the way. They deserve the space to speak their truth. Using creative writing, drama, painting, movie making, cooking, etc. are all avenues to help. My favorite place is drama. Where will you go to help your teen find their voice?