Hard-earned brownie points


Our NQT diarist earns some brownie points after the successful climax of an initiative to stretch her most able students and engage with the community at the same time.

This week was a proud one for me as I saw through to completion the first project that I had run from start to finish totally independently!

NQTs tend to have someone waiting in the wings to rescue them, but this project was something I was determined to achieve alone – more to prove myself than any other reason. 

As the £2 coin says, I felt the need to “stand on the shoulders of giants” and try to establish my own little niche that both I and the school could be proud of, but which also got my name onto the map for my first year.

A couple of months back as part of a “Lifting the Lid” initiative that we had launched to focus on the achievement of the gifted and talented, I auditioned for and began to run Dance Company – an alternative to the year group Dance Clubs that I was already offering.

This was to be a more elite vertical group with the best dancers across the school in one place. 

Although I had reservations about being exclusive with this group of children, I felt there needed to be a high standard of work to set the bar for the other students and to promote ourselves within the community. We are a performing arts specialism school after all, and therefore should be involved with far more than we currently are.

A local gallery ran a large schools exhibition based on Dreams and Fantasies, which allowed my choreographic fantasies to run wild as I created a dance recital of Alice in Wonderland, beginning at four minutes long but finally being performed with a running time of six after I had returned to the technician to extend the music three times: “But the Queen of Hearts hasn’t even come on yet!”

I still firmly believe that technicians are some of the most underrated people within the school. If I had a fairy godmother, it would come in the form of our performing arts technician – I have no doubt, he’s saved me many times.

An ex-pupil who had returned to work towards her NVQ in theatrical make-up was roped in to bring the performance to life with some outstanding faces for the characters. And the students behaved like a Dance Company – professional and nothing short of outstanding (I even felt a small tear of pride begin to arrive, but quickly brushed that away before the kids realised that the iron lady had emotions!). 

It was at that moment, watching the vision come to life surrounded by a full audience, that I was grateful for sticking to my guns and staying in performing arts. Whoever thinks that students aren’t benefiting from this vital subject are deluded.

And what touched me the most was the emails that flew in from the public to the headteacher about the dance event – what lovely people to take time out of their day to appreciate the work we had done.

But even better than the kind words and much needed ego boost, it earned me some brownie points for when I inevitably “mess up” later in the year! 

I hope there isn’t a sell by date on those...

  • Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.


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