I start teaching at 12.15noon on a Wednesday as a part-time teacher and this no doubt adds to what is always a really lovely day. Finishing at 2.30pm helps too!! I go in to teach two year nine groups one at 12.15 noon and the next at 1pm. Students at our school have a 12 week rotation in drama in year nine. In year seven and eight drama is taught within the English department.
This is my third year of delivering the rotation. Structuring the program has proved more difficult than I originally anticipated as the students lack of experience in drama does cause issues - they are more self conscious and reticent to participate than I expected. However, as the tradition of drama and performance has developed in the school, as we share GCSE performances through English lessons in KS3 and assemblies, students are more and more willing to try.
The secret to increasing participation is reward - mostly by creating a fun and rewarding experience to participate in, which means careful planning of activities for each group, but also rewards through the school systems: massive amounts of verbal praise in class from peers and me, green writing in their diaries (at our school red writing in their diaries is one of their most dreaded experiences), emails to their tutors/HoY, inviting their tutors/HoY along next week and VIVO's (www.vivomiles.com). I try to make the drama room an exciting place to be - for example, students walk into the studio with the theatre lights on and a sound track, a set which they will fill with their performances or we might use the smoke machine to add atmosphere to pieces that deserve the recognition and, most importantly to me, we always have a good laugh together.
Today is the eighth lesson, we will be looking at stereotypes through performance: I will ask if they recognise the stereotypes in the play in their life, they will be creating these larger than life characters in performances and then discussing the assumptions we make about people and how these perceptions limit people's capacity. The play is 'Sparkleshark' by Philip Ridley. I am excited about how they'll respond and what they'll do. The humanity that my students show, their capacity to care and understand is thrilling.
BRING IT ON!