Elena Maimonis, the new drama teacher, is a Zumba-lover and Netflix-watcher who loves introducing high school students to drama. Maimonis grew up in Westwood, Mass., and studied psychology at Marist College in New York where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She later went to Emerson University for a master’s degree in theatre education. She is a reader, dancer and enthusiastic teacher who has previously worked in various Newton schools and at Heath Elementary School.
What was something special you did this summer?
I choreographed two musicals. I became a Zumba instructor for the first time.
Why did you decide to become a drama teacher?
I was a theatre kid my whole life and know the impact drama and theatre can have on kids, high schoolers, especially just in terms of their growth, development and gaining confidence. It’s also just fun. I love performing, and I also love directing and inspiring students to find something they’re passionate in, which is sort of what I discovered as a high schooler. It’s nice to kind of be on the other side now.
Tell me more about your experience teaching drama before coming to the high school.
I’ve done a lot of afterschool shows, productions and summer classes. I’ve taught drama classes in different locations but not in a public school setting during the day. I did some shows at Heath, and I worked at Newton North High School. I’ve been doing a lot of work at JCC in Newton; I worked at Newton Country Day School.
What do you like about working with and teaching high school students?
I like that you can talk to them as humans and adults. I can really actually relate to high schoolers because it wasn’t too long ago I was in high school. You can really challenge them and push them and talk to them in a way that’s mature. And they can take risks too. A lot of students have already developed this love for theatre, and they’re not just discovering it for the first time. It’s really cool to be able to go deeper into the curriculum when students are able to understand and grasp what we’re talking about.
Is there anything else you’d like for me to know about you?
This is my first time at the high school, but so far it’s been really great. All the other teachers are super supportive, so I don’t even feel like a first-time teacher because the classroom is so comfortable. All my students are super happy to be there. And it’s where I feel like I belong. So it’s been a really great start.