A Different Role: What it Takes to be a Studio Teacher
In a previous article, we discussed the role of an on-set teacher. For most of the country, on-set teachers are responsible for educating young performers while on location. But if you are in California, the role is referred to as a studio teacher, and goes well beyond the scope of an on-set teacher.
The studio teacher is more like a combined teacher and social worker, and the certification requires adherence to specific child labor laws that come into play on the set. A studio teacher must be present where there are minors in any entertainment arena, including film, TV, photography, recording, modeling, or even a rodeo or circus — anywhere where a child actor or entertainer of any sort is present and working.
So, what, exactly is the responsibility of a studio teacher in the entertainment industry in California?
The studio teacher not only teaches the academic subjects, but he or she must also oversee and protect the safety, health and morals of minors in the entertainment venue.
The studio teacher ensures proper working conditions for the child actor, makes certain that the child actor is not mentally or physically exhausted from the work, and that all work is performed in accordance with laws protecting minors.
Studio teachers also have the authority to refuse work if conditions are not met or remove child actors from sets if they see a threat to health, safety or morals.
In accordance with California teaching credentials specifically set aside for studio teachers, the teacher must be certified to teach in at least one of five subject areas: English, math, social science, and foreign language.
Additionally, a second California teacher certification must be obtained attesting to the teacher's specialization in teaching children in grades K-12. Yes, a dual certification is required!
There is also a written California labor law and regulations exam requirement for all studio teacher applicants. The written exam is administered by the Labor Commissioner with the initial certification and at renewal time. The exam verifies the studio teacher applicant's knowledge of the laws and how they apply to minors in the entertainment industry.
In addition, qualified candidates must complete a "course of instruction designed by the Labor Commissioner to instruct the applicant in the duties and responsibilities of the studio teacher," the law outlines.
For more information on the role and requirements of a studio teacher in California, visit California’s Department of Industrial Relations website.
If you believe you meet the qualifications of a studio teacher and would like to explore this possibility further, visit the Teacher Information page on our website.