SDSU Responds to Growing Need for Theater Teachers

Student performers in an SDSU theater production.
Student performers in an SDSU theater production.

Students at San Diego State University will now have the opportunity to obtain a single-subject teaching credential in theater. 

Proposition 28, passed by California voters last November, increases funding for arts and music education in public schools. As a result, the demand for arts educators in K-12 schools will increase rapidly. 

“For many students in our elementary schools, their access to arts education has been limited to whatever their own classroom teacher may have taught in dance, music, media arts, theater or visual arts,” said Russell Sperling, director of visual and performing arts for San Diego Unified School District. “For secondary students, they will find more arts classes on their campus, often in an arts discipline that may not have previously been offered. 

“We especially expect to see an increase in dance and theater in our schools.” 

SDSU worked to address this demand by streamlining the process of putting teachers in the classrooms. The effort was a joint project between the School of Teacher Education (STE) and the School of Theater, Television, and Film. 

SDSU's Liz Buffington on KUSI

“With the passage of prop 28, the San Diego County Office of Education is going to hire 600 arts teachers in the next year — and that’s all arts,” said Alison Urban, lecturer and leadership coordinator for the School of Theater, Television and Film. “We have so many great teachers that have stayed in San Diego who now are gonna be able to have access to the theater credential and do what they love.”

The theater credential is an addition to other single subject credentials such as math, science, English, social sciences, PE and dance offered by the School of Teacher Education. It can be obtained in two or three semesters, with student teaching taking place in-person. Candidates with the title of theater in their degree do not need to take the CSET. 

This course will meet in person for three hours per week, providing candidates with opportunities to theorize the methods of key theater in education practitioners, practice writing individual lesson plans and comprehensive unit plans, and reflect on simulated facilitated learning.

“This is also one way that we can nurture and support a multi-cultural perspective in our students,” said Liz Buffington, lecturer and 21st century blended learning cohort lead in STE. “Different types of dance, different types of art and music are all wonderful entry points to teach students to experience life outside their own every day perspective.” 

The deadline to apply for this and all other teaching credentials is April 1, 2023. In addition, candidates who apply for the Golden State Teacher Grant could receive up to $20,000 in financial aid.

For more information about single subject teaching credential in theater contact Liz Buffington at [email protected] or 619-859-3474. 

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