This is a very important question, one that I was asked countless times while I was growing up...and sometimes, I still ask it of myself.
I’ve been an English & Speech teacher for over 18 years, but I began as a Theatre major at WSU. Now that I’ve had the chance to teach teens from age 13 up to 18 years, I can tell you that the benefits of being involved in theatre, whether it be in stage or backstage, have been plentiful! In fact, if I hadn’t chosen a career in teaching, I still would encourage people to get involved in a theatrical group to try their hand at something related to it.
As an English & Speech teacher, I’ve witnessed first-hand my students bring their reading & writing to life once they’ve had the experience of working on stage or behind the scenes! There’s just something about putting your soul out there--exposed--that makes someone work that much harder on their English-oriented assignments in school. Plus, there’s the added benefit of practicing before you hand in that final copy or are called upon in class to read aloud. The theatre creates such a strong family that not only do you want to succeed, but you simply will! Theatrical families encourage & support each other, and when someone feels like a failure, that person has a community of learners just like him or her to practice right alongside him or her. People who put their heart & soul on the line and allow others to see what they have to offer in the ways of acting & whatnot simply have no choice but to become a stronger reader, a more fluent writer.
In other words...get out there and try your hand at something on stage or behind the scenes! What really do you have to lose? Chances are, you’ll see a change--for the better--not only in your confidence, but in your schoolwork, too.