We talked with Samantha Gassel, a recent graduate of Emerson’s Theatre Education: Non-Performance program, on her view of the arts in education. Samantha is currently student teaching high school students in Chicago and knows firsthand the value of the arts in schools.
“Arts in education is not only teaching arts, it is using the arts in other subjects as a teaching tool. Not only is this an excellent tool, as it utilizes the ideas of multiple intelligences and ways of learning, but it is also a great way to keep the arts alive in schools where specialized art programs have been cut.”
Samantha considers herself both lucky and inspired by her own theatre experiences from school, particularly that of her high school. “After seeing how advanced a public high school program could be, and seeing how amazing my teachers were, I knew that I had to be a theatre teacher,” Samantha said. “I would love to teach at a school like my old high school, but I would also be thrilled to provide the opportunities I had at my high school to other schools that do not have such developed programs.”
Throughout the past few years, Samantha has taken the initiative to create, direct, perform, and design “Seize The Stage” a musical benefit raising money for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. This past summer the benefit raised $3,600. Based on her experience, Samantha believes “benefits are wonderful for students to do, because benefits can help teach them that the arts can be used for the good of the public.”
Samantha advises those pursuing a career in education to never give up, even during times of doubt. Through perseverance and a commitment to educating others, you will “learn so much about theatre, the arts, other subjects, life skills, and yourself.”
Samantha leaves us with a few words of wisdom that reaffirm her love of arts in education. “Teaching the arts is a great way for you to continually learn about who you are and what you stand for.”