Let’s celebrate Sara Skinner-Probst, theatre teacher at Freedom High School for 9 years!
What drew you to education and specifically the important role of theatre teacher?
I grew up surrounded by teachers. My mom was an exceptional education teacher, my dad was an art teacher, and my grandparents were all teachers. I always knew that I was good at teaching, but I had not found the subject that fueled my passion. Theater was where I found my joy, happiness, and creativity. When I went to graduate school, I found out that there was an option to be a high school theater teacher, and at that moment, I felt like my whole world opened up. I took every opportunity I could to teach theater to all ages. I loved every moment.
This is my 17th year as a teaching artist. I have worked/work at Orlando Repertory Theater, Shakespeare Theatre, Honolulu Theater for Youth, and Oheio Productions.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
There are so many aspects of my job that I love, but I think my favorite is watching the students have their “aha moments,” especially the students that come into my classroom not wanting to take theater, but being placed there, or the students that come in so shy they barely talk to anyone. Watching these students grow in their confidence and self assurance by the end of the year and falling in love with theater is just magical.
In celebration of TIOS (Theatre in Our Schools Month), we are excited to showcase that even amidst a global pandemic, theatre and the arts are alive and well in schools. Your classroom and program is a great example of that fact. What are you up to this month?
In my Theatre 2 class, we are finishing up our theater for social change unit in coordination with two other high schools. This has been a great time for students to express themselves, especially during the pandemic. In my technical theater classes, we are working on designs and building both online and in person for the spring musical. Although things look very different this year, everyone is very excited to put on a show.
Which projects or classroom assignments are you most excited about and why?
The next unit for my Theatre 2 class is accents and stock character development. This lesson in a normal year brings so much fun and laughter that I cannot wait to share it this year when it is so needed. In my technical theater class I have decided to try a new unit that I have never done before which is making food props. This will be a new experience for both myself and the students and I’m very excited to see what we create.
Do you have plans to celebrate TiOS month? How so?
When we come back from Spring Break my Theater 1 students will be learning about Theater History. They will be creating presentations, models, and color renderings from different time periods in theater history. I will then be displaying these images through our high school Instagram and our drama club Instagram.
Thank you OCPS Arts for sharing your theatre teachers with us!