There is nothing quite like school production week at school. Being an Am Dram enthusiast myself, I can empathise with the enthusiasm that this week brings. To fathom that there is a life outside of the show is unimaginable. Only you and your fellow performers can really understand what you are going through and you do end up becoming your own little secret club. Year groups mix, friendship groups merge and memories are made that last a lifetime.
By far the most enjoyable element for me, being part of the production team, has been watching pupils shine who would not normally do so. One particular student who I will call J has brought tears to my eyes this past week. He is the sort of boy who I believe has his own personal table and chair at Friday after school SLT detention as he is there so often. If you utter his name in the staff room it elicits the most negative reaction. Yet, this week he has shone brighter than anyone else. This show meant so much to him, I can honestly say I have never seen him work so hard on anything before. He learned the dance routines to perfection, was one of the first to put his script down and never missed a rehearsal. During show week he really did himself justice and was truly outstanding. Watching the faces and the reactions of teachers who teach him realising that this (quite often frustrating) boy had talent was priceless. For once, J was the achiever not the struggler.
As a classroom teacher we become so busy that it easy to forget about the person behind the grades. We are constantly tracking their progress in our chosen subject yet how often do we take the time to see the person behind the grade. Our registers have their FFT D score, their data, and their KS2 results yet there never seems to be a column about who they are. I truly believe that it is our responsibility to protect our students from being just a number and bring out who they really are. School life and the memories which students leave with are made exactly from events such as school productions and we need to keep these alive and kicking.
I know for a fact that making a difference is why we go into the teaching profession. It goes without saying that enabling students to leave with qualifications is our ‘bread and butter’ but the jam and marmalade is what makes a student feel special and understood. It’s what allows students to become individuals, to understand who they truly are and ignite their true potential. It is for this reason that it saddens me so much how the Arts are being undermined so much within a national context. People like J need an outlet like a show week to realise they are good at things.