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All the world's a stage for theater arts teacher

Arturo Avina with his students

I started working for L.A. Unified in 2002 as a Mentor Program Coordinator at Selma Elementary School. I'd had a hunch I wanted to teach and being at Selma Elementary confirmed it. It was a joy to work with the students and teachers. I enrolled in intern program and began working as a kindergarten teacher at Mayberry Elementary School in 2003. Today, I am a theater teacher who vists five schools a week, developing communication skills with my students through theater arts.

Despite the passage of time, teaching never gets old! Even if I repeat the same lesson at a different school or with a different class, the kids always come up with a new spin on old tales. I love the innovation and creativity that it inspires in my students. They make me laugh, they make me proud, and they inspire me as well. 

I see that drama and theater education builds self-confidence in my students. The act of performing can help students recognize new aptitudes and find another outlet for success. Students who do not excel on pencil and paper can suddenly show their knowledge and talent on a stage. 

The best part is watching how some 'shy' students suddenly open up. When they are playing a character and don’t have to be themselves, it can open the floodgates. Because children often learn through play and because theater can often feel like a game, the students feel freer and more confident to speak.

Arturo Avina
Elementary theater teacher
Instagram: @luckystarsla