A long day at the office today – which, as I write, is far from over. When I first decided I wanted to do something big to celebrate World Dance Day, I was told our faculty budget wouldn’t allow for it. Having faced this obstacle before, I made the controversial decision to cut out the middle men and go straight to the top in the hope that some enrichment funding may be available – which, to my surprise, it was.
After thanking the headteacher and negotiating a budget which was far beyond what I needed, I set about organising World Dance Day which is what has taken over the school today.
Our students take GCSEs in year 9, with year 8 pupils having already chosen their options. So in thinking more like a business person than a teacher (which we occasionally have to do), I wanted to aim the event at year 7, predominantly in a bid to increase our longer term option numbers at key stage 4.
This escalated rapidly to year 7 and 8 students participating in hour-long Bollywood dance workshops on rotation throughout the day with a fabulous external company who brought in native costume and music for their performances.
Of course, the students absolutely loved it – which meant I loved it too. It’s a wonderful feeling when you are praised on student behaviour and attitude by strangers in the school.
Watching them “screw the lightbulb” and “shoot the arrows” in full dress, but most importantly with huge smiles, was an experience I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Another touching moment was teaching the GCSE students a ballet workshop – a form of dance completely alien to them and certainly one they claimed was “too posh for us”. That’s a stigma I’d like to change, so I will try to pursue that one again in the future.
To end the day, students were taught the second act opener from We Will Rock You by a West End choreographer – a brilliant high to end on.
Throw that on top of numerous flash mobs throughout the school and the co-ed break dancing club performing in central corridors (encouraging other students to battle and learn movements), and I would say today was another of those days where I feel as though I am starting to carve my mark in to this school.
But what an exhausting day for me as a teacher. No time for lunch and a day where I’m required to just keep giving – from leading workshops and organising lower school students to acting enthusiastically about dance for an entire day (which isn’t so much of an act really, it certainly is my passion in life – but nine hours of it has been somewhat tiring).
After it all, I returned to the office having seen the practitioners off with their cheques in hand, feeling a huge sense of accomplishment as teachers discuss with me down the corridor the various flash mobs they’d seen and the videos they’d shared during tutor time.
Then I came down from my enrichment high and crashed with a bang. Year 7 parents’ evening. And so that’s where I’m now heading, sweaty and exhausted, fully prepared for three hours of “isn’t he wonderful” and “what can I do to help his behaviour?” My sofa, where I was hoping to be, seems like a distant fantasy now...
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.