Avoid Guru-ism. A good acting teacher encourages his/her students to exercise their own judgment. The temptation to give away one’s power is especially strong when you are younger student. Perhaps you are pursuing acting straight out of high school or college where you have been told what to do and how to behave to get good grades, make friends, date the cute guy or girl or win the part.
Along with the influences of your upbringing, an acting student’s DNA seems to produce a strong need for approval. However, an important aspect of one’s acting training is to learn to please and approve of yourself! This turning inward for approval will serve you beyond taking acting class. Self-approval (and self-prizing) is essential for auditioning and working professionally.
One way an acting teacher can empower a student is to promote self-monitoring. How? By asking questions instead of pointing out what’s right or wrong with a performance.
Recognizing the artist in each actor, the legendary acting coach Uta Hagen asked her students after each scene, ”What can you tell me today?” and ”How did you feel?” and ”What are you doing wrong?” She listened to her students’ responses, trusting their innate wisdom, and then offered her expertise to address their self-professed challenges.
Understand that your goal is not to please your teacher. Ideally, your intention is to grow as an actor and a human being. It’s your journey and your right to claim it. Start the journey by finding the right acting teacher for you!