Evaluation of Week 1 at Longslade
When we first arrived we were apprehensive, we were worried about how the students would react to us and whether they would response well to the plan that we had for them, or even if they wanted the communication between the students and the teachers to be improved. We did go in with assumptions, but i think this is natural of anything. Our fears were that the students might not care about the work and play up in class, like the stereotypical outlook on teenagers in school. However, when we started our classes we found that the students were enthusiastic and willing to work hard and were really focused.
When we decided to advertise the lunchtime performance for the teachers an email was sent round by the drama department and we decided to go to the staff rooms of the different departments. If i am honest we were truly shock by the reaction that we received. The comments when we spoke to the teachers about the 15 minutes of their lunchtime that they had to spare were ...
'oh, don't we have a meeting to go to? ... er (giggle) ... yeah some meeting is on, but I'll try'
'really? i have just had the year 10's for cooking, i don't really want to see them again'
'have you heard about that performance that is going on at lunchtime?'
'Oh yeah, isn't it about how the students are going to tell us how to do our job?'
'I think i have got better things to do with my time don't you?'
At Longslade the students do not have school uniform and therefore as myself, Lucy and Bex are quite young we tended to blend in with students. We approached one of the staff rooms where a teacher opened the door, did not say a word, looked at us and then folded her arms. We were so unnerved by this reaction that when Lucy began speaking she stuttered. However, after we had explained where we were from and what we were doing the lady changed almost immediately to accommodate us. This was just a look into how some teachers were treating the students.
When it came to the performances, a total number of two teachers came to the Wednesday performance, but luckily other students had come to support their peers. The reaction that we received from the performers was 'Miss, where are the teachers? i thought the teachers were meant to be coming to watch us?'. i personally felt like we had failed them but actually it was the teachers not supporting the students.
After this we spoke to the head teacher. We expressed how much we had enjoyed working with the students and what work we had done with them. We expressed delicately how disappointed we were at the turnout from the teachers at the performance and he said that he was also disappointed and that more effort should have been made on their part.
On the Friday performance there were about ten teachers, including the head master who attended the performance.
Working with the year 10's was really enjoyable, one class was extremely bubbly, enthusiastic and creative. The second year 10 class was slightly shyer but still as creative, they just needed a bit more encouragement. However, even though one class was shy and the other extrovert both classes were focused when it came to the performance. They truly put their all into the issues and came up with sensible and constructive ideas to put forward to the teachers.
The year 12's were also amazing. The B-Tec class shared beautiful stories and i feel really bonded together well that lesson. The second year 12 class worked extremely hard on the performance and again brought forward constructive ideas and showed a very real view of the school and their solutions were very inspiring to us as well as the teachers.
The year 13's were a lovely class to teach. They were four girls who liked drama but seemed as if they had a lot of talent but no direction. Becca one of the girls refused to tell a story about herself which was OK but a shame because she has a lot of potential. By the second session Becca and the other girls performed creative performances and learnt how to be active instead of talkative, which could sometimes be an issue.
We left the school with a completely different impression. Firstly we did not want to leave. The students were inspiring and not as scary as we had first assumed. Unfortunately, we could not say the same for the teachers. We recognised that being a teacher is extremely tough an the work load is extremely heavy. However, surely stimulating and supporting your students is a must in that job? Some teachers were amazing such as the drama department and a few others but on the whole we were disappointed by the involvement and interest that the teachers had shown in their student. The reasons for the students comments 'i wish the teachers could have more respect for us' were becoming apparent. We also understand that not every teacher is interested in drama, however, i can't help but feel that if you belong to a school you belong to that community and therefore as 'leaders' of that community, support anything positive that is occurring within that community.
When leaving we felt that this issue could not be left and that we had actually only scratched the surface and felt we could help more. Therefore we decided to come back for a second week. Our main aim was to work with the teachers as well as the students. The work with the teachers was imperative. We saw that there was a desperate need for change and that we may be able to help, even if it was only slightly. Therefore we scrapped the installation project and decided to work intensively at Longslade