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Team Building and Developing Student Leadership

Building a Legacy of Working Together

By Lorraine Thompson

Team building and developing Student LeadershipOne afternoon, a visiting high school theatre director was in our light booth with my colleague, Katie. It was not quite time for rehearsal, but the company was already warming up on the stage. “What is going on down there?” our visitor asked. Katie explained warm-ups. “But their director is not here yet!” the visitor exclaimed.

“She doesn’t have to be. The company is responsible for warm-ups.” Katie replied.

The visiting director was stunned. “My kids could NEVER do that!”

To this Katie responded, “Of course they could. If our kids can do it, so can yours.”

Granted, our small college prep school in Athens, Georgia, is a unique place with a clearly identified set of values. Ensemble, leadership, integrity and pride are more than just ideals; they live and breathe. I certainly have no incantation, formula, or checklist guaranteeing others the creation of a successful ensemble. All I can do is share with you my observations and my practice, but I know it has more to do with the values you teach and instill in your students than anything else.

Talk the talk AND Walk the walk

If an open, accepting, ensemble based program is desired, it starts with the teacher/director. The adult leader is the ultimate example for behavior, respect, work ethic, expectation and attitude. The leader sets the tone by his/her words AND actions. You cannot ask from others what you are unwilling or unable to give yourself. The teacher/director should strive to be organized, respectful, punctual and efficient with time. Do not underestimate the power of example.

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Keywords:  drama   leadership   student leadership   teaching students   team building   theatre