Many of the general public recognise the saying 'Them that can do, them that can't teach.' There is also the addition, 'Them that can't teach, teach teachers.' There were, and still are, thankfully, many dedicated teachers, especially the younger element, outnumbering the pompous twerps the profession sometimes attracts. 'Twas always the case.
I was late entering a profession that can at times bring out the child in you. (How many wives, and husbands for that matter have rebuked a spouse or partner with the phrase, 'You're not at school now.') You thus have experience of life outside teaching; a slight disadvantage being that you are then not always on the same wave length as those experienced only in academia, academia, academia. (I have met a number of teachers who indignantly claim, 'I haven't only just done teaching you know,' citing six weeks at the local Co-op in the college holiday as evidence of massive industrial experience.)
In my teaching days, long since gone, I was sometimes timetabled to teach drama. Now I had no training in drama and little help via the department. Par for the course I suppose, some teachers protected their little world from other teachers, afraid you might learn their secrets. Perhaps also in case you found out what insecure fools they often were, self opinionated idiots with tiny intellects and massive egos.
I spent many years in various, unimportant may I add, occupations before I joined the 'elite'. Thus some of my lessons tended to be non text book, but the kids seemed to like it. I used to tell the story of the play, (Agatha Christie?) where an individual is dead on stage, within, is it five minutes. And remains there for the duration of the play.Then we, as a lesson 'auditioned' for the play. (No doubt not original, as someone is sure to point out, but who honestly cares.) The children would cavort around the room until, at the sound of a whistle (remember the days we teachers had whistles) the children would collapse on the floor. (No one else on the floor allowed within touching distance). Whether the children were on their backs, stomachs, sides, no matter. A couple of minutes to get comfortable and the fun started. I walked around the room and intently examined the 'corpses'. A twitching eye, a jerky foot, a spasmodic contraction of any body part and you were out. (Any children with inherent 'ticks' were allowed two goes.) You were out if you felt teachers boot or shoe poking gently in the ribs. (Gently, honest! Many had their eyes closed.) With thirty pupils and the majority happily intent on 'winning' it was one hell of a way to spend a lesson, I can tell you. I don't suppose it would be either PC or acceptable nowadays but I'm not going to justify myself to anyone. The children enjoyed it and it was repeated at intervals.
The pupils I taught in the main were lively, not over privileged, exuberant often ill disciplined individuals. Lying still and silent on a school floor did not come naturally to them. Plus the 'winner' was always thrilled to bits and was often not the one you would have expected to be so. Even the concept of a winner would probably be frowned on today. Which led to a second drama lesson, Stevens style. I realised laying, (for never expect kids to do what you won't do yourself,) amongst silent for once, secondary school pupils meant every sound in and around the four storey building could now be heard.
We were next to the canteen, often last lesson before dinner and every clank of crockery reverberated round the large hall in which the pupils lay. This time it was not considered a contest. The pupils merely made themselves comfortable, closed their eyes and listened. What an eye opener for us all, myself included: the sound of the hall clock, the mower on the field, the PE teacher bellowing instructions, also on the field; the French class, chanting parrot style on the fourth floor and the office typewriter clacking away in the general office. Plus the sound of heavier and heavier breathing from an immobile Form Three N. At the end of a lesson pupils were often reluctant to re-enter the noisy real world. Often some feigned sleep but there were instances when a child did really go to sleep, to the amusement and probably envy of his or her fellow pupils. Happy days and I feel we all learnt something, myself included.
This week some unlucky shoppers experienced a three hour noisy, smelly wait to leave a car park in the middle of Derby. Welcome to the real world. I am reminded of my makeshift drama lessons by something I bought before Christmas. But new to this blogging lark, I was advised by an experienced blogger basically 'Not to go on' in a blog! Good advice, my man, here's to the next blog. Hopefully all will be revealed.