I take a step back and put the track back to the beginning, watching with pride as my year 8 dance club perform (and to a high standard!) a Charleston medley of the Jungle Book.
I always get a strange sense of achievement seeing young people performing dance genres from decades ago – even if it took some revival by Robbie Williams to get them to do it. The girls were showing off using their facial expressions at every opportunity, and yet it was the boys who, although aren’t as good, have become a ray of sunshine throughout my hectic working week.
As I watch my lads dancing, smiling the entire way through (I’d like to think it’s because of my choreography, although it’s more likely down to the female attention they are getting), I realise that my heavy marketing campaign to avoid the “dance is for girls” set up may be starting to pay off.
Although my GCSE numbers are still “female orientated”, with the odd male anomaly, it seems my extra-curricular clubs are beginning to become increasingly co-ed, which truly is an amazing sight.
We formed a break-dancing club as an experiment after discovering the maths NQT is a closet hip hop genius – this took off beyond measure and was soon out of the restrictive dance studio and opened up to the sports hall to cater for the volume of students who wanted to attend, largely male dominated.
Although not quite my Billy Elliot dream, watching the boys dancing together and choreographing, going home to extend their research and buzzing about live theatre trips reminds me of why I chose to become a teacher in the first place.
That was it – my moment.
The moment I was told about by my father where I would have an educational epiphany as to why I go through the rest of the hassle that teaching can bring.
It is for moments like that – where you realise you are the cause of what you’re witnessing, and it is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.
Once that moment came, they seemed to keep on arriving. First, in the form of a reserved male drama student (with whom I have been battling for a term to give him the confidence to perform in front of an audience), who rendered me speechless with his performance as an arrogant and outlandish “Russell” from the comedic play Sparkleshark.
And then just today, watching my Dance Company, the newly formed gifted and talented group, performing their Alice in Wonderland routine almost had me in tears, especially when they were rewarded by being asked to perform it at a prestigious local event.
I realised that without the relaxing atmosphere that comes with extra-curricular clubs, I may just have lost my marbles working in a school as high pressured as ours. Although those clubs are for the children, it’s just as much for me as their teacher – a classroom setting where I can drop my guard and let my own creativity loose, sharing my passion away from the curriculum and inspiring children in the good old fashioned way – through doing.
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.