The exam season finish line is slowly appearing on the horizon and my time after school is increasingly being occupied by countless rehearsals for our summer musical, which looks somewhat shambolic at present but I’m hoping everything will be “all right on the night”.
Thankfully I’m not directing this one, and with the volume of choreography I’m currently creating as I attempt to include as many students as possible I begin to wonder whether I would ever be able to direct a show.
Losing students from rehearsals, organising set and costume, devising the acting – too much for me to consider.
Although I had better get my head around it fairly soon as I’ve come to learn the Christmas production is going to be all on me! (Better to be well-prepared and organised than in a last minute rush I suppose.)
And it isn’t just our own school show I am beginning to lose sleep over. As a school attached to local primaries, I seem to be roped in to helping to organise their summer musicals too – choreographing even more dances, but with a much younger age group.
It hits me that you are either secondary or primary. When speaking to someone from the “other phase” they often tell you how they “could never” possibly teach secondary students before relaying a long list of reasons as to why not.
However, conversely, I too have come to realise how demanding being a primary teacher is, even though I only spend a few hours a week with the youngsters.
I am fortunate to work in a place where I can set a task, the students will go off and do it, will usually request my intervention if it is needed, and will explain their confusion, thus eliminating the guessing games that I have been encountering with some of the primary pupils. Furthermore, secondary students have a greater retention rate and are fully aware of what is right or wrong (whether they choose to abide by the rules or not is another story). They are less “needy”, more insightful and independent.
Having said this, I am certain the sense of reward which brought teachers of all ages into this career remains just as strong at any level of education.
Putting these challenges to the back of my mind, I put these innocent young pupils into the closest thing to a formation I can muster, before they get distracted and wander elsewhere.
I sigh and drag them back, being as friendly as I can though secretly wanting to just pick them up and plonk them down. I teach choreography which is forgotten the next week and, like an awkward step-parent, I don’t feel as though I can properly discipline them as they aren’t “my” children.
A child then decides that the middle of the song is an appropriate time to soak his pants and I realise that this primary malarkey certainly isn’t for me. I much prefer being sworn at or facing attitude than dealing with spontaneous urination.
So as I wave the primary children off, breathing a large sigh of relief that I have a few days break from them, my own dancers begin to come bundling into the studio for rehearsals, buzzing with excitement and singing songs from the summer musical. I can’t help but smile back. “Ah Miss, you look well happy to see us!” Believe me, kids – I am. Oh, and if you need the loo please just go...
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.