What do you hope students take away from Drama with Ms Bye?
For me, drama education is not about wanting to be a professional actor, that can come later if it is a passion, but for all students, I hope that through their study of drama they can learn to see, engage with and appreciate the art in their lives. Being able to go to the theatre and enjoy and connect with how it is made and performed is something that I hope all my students learn how to do.
Secondly, and most importantly, I want my students to embrace their capacity for empathy. In drama, we are always asked to see things from someone else’s perspective or to walk in someone else’s shoes. This is an incredible opportunity to try out many perspectives and come to a better understanding of other people.
Tell us about your past teaching jobs…
For 13 years, I have been teaching in the international school system. After teaching in Australia, I wanted to challenge myself, see the world and learn more about my chosen profession. I spent four years as the Head of Drama at The American School of Doha in Qatar and then nine years as Head of Drama at United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore.
In an educational sense, my experiences overseas have exposed me to a diverse range of curricula and pedagogies whilst culturally, I have been inspired by the many wonderful cultures of Asia. As a drama and theatre teacher, I love to bring this knowledge into the classroom by introducing students to incredible theatre forms from around the world.
Why did you choose to become a Drama teacher?
As a teenager with a passion for the performing arts, I think I always knew that my career would lie in that direction. In High School, I was mentored by a wonderfully kind and generous drama teacher, who gave me numerous opportunities to direct, choreograph, design, and manage theatre productions. It was then that my love for drama and theatre found its place as a teacher. People often assume that I became a drama and theatre teacher because I want to perform. Nothing could be further from the truth! I get a great deal more joy from facilitating performers in my role as a teacher or director.
I am incredibly proud of many of my past students who have gone on to study theatre. At the moment I have former students studying at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, New York University — Tisch School of the Arts in the USA, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and NIDA in Sydney. Just thinking about that makes me happy!
What is your favourite thing to see in Drama classes?
I love a loud and busy drama room! The energy that comes from students’ excitement in knowing that they have an idea for performance that is going to be successful fills the room and lifts everyone’s energy. I also love it when students are brave and take risks with performance. The only way that you know if an idea is truly going to work is to try it and that always comes with the risk of failure. Being brave rather than playing it safe and seeing failure as an opportunity to learn about what works and why is so important to a successful drama class.
I love to see students bring their passions, their culture and their aspirations into drama. Whether it be incorporating a passage of poetry from their favourite book or adding dialogue in their mother tongue, I want my students to embrace their uniqueness and bring that into their work.