Although it is mainly your skill and talent that will get you the furthest in your acting career, it is also very important to note that the teaching you receive will have a massive effect too. A good teacher can turn you from a rough diamond to the most shining jewel the acting world has ever seen! So what should you be looking for in your acting teacher?
Qualifications - It’s no good taking acting classes from someone whose degree is in Veterinary Medicine., but who thought they’d try their hand at a bit of acting on the side. You need to find someone who is dedicated enough to acting that they spent their youth making sure they had a good crop of qualifications under their belt.
Industry Experience - Look for a teacher who has lots of acting experience, stage experience, directing - basically, make sure they have spent a lot of time in the acting world and know how it all works. This way they will be far better placed to help you succeed in said world.
Teaching Skill - This is not something you will be able to fully gauge until you are on the course, being taught, unfortunately. But you should be able to get a measure of a good teacher just be meeting them; listening to them and having a conversation. If they refuse to make eye contact and mumble a lot then I should run a mile!
Previous Successes - I’m not saying you should rule out a teacher who doesn’t have a list of BAFTA winners under their previous pupil’s list - after all, YOU may be their next big star to brag about! But it is reassuring if you know that your teacher has past experience with rearing champions of the acting world.
One on One Training - You need to look for a teacher who has time to spend with you as an individual - this one is a must. If they are not able to see you as a person and as an actor, then how can they foster your talents effectively?
Encouraging - Unless you like the Gordon Ramsay approach, it is important to have someone who will sing your praises every once in a while. If you have found a good teacher, chances are they will be as delighted with your successes as you are, so they will encourage you and cheer for you when you do well.
Constructive Criticism - This is almost as important as being cheered for. You need someone who is willing and able to tell you your mistakes and weaknesses, in a way that helps you learn from them and improve them in the future. Again, unless you like to be shouted at a la Gordon Ramsay.
You can’t blame an acting teacher if you don’t get the parts or shoot to stardom; a lot of it has to come from you too. But, there is an awful lot that a good teacher can help you achieve, so spend a bit of time making sure you’ve found a good one.