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To wonder why so many teachers take the school Christmas concert so seriously?

(90 Posts)
GlitteryRollers Tue 08-Dec-15 16:25:22

I'm doing supply at the moment in a school that is taking its Christmas concert so seriously you'd swear they are putting a show in the West End.
Today the head teacher, whom I've already got pegged as a bit of a narcissist, ranted and raved at the whole school during a run through because of the way the way they were getting fidgety (they'd been standing for well over an hour at this point), they didn't have their hands by their sides and they weren't looking happy enough.

It's just seems a bit much really. I've sat through a couple of run throughs already and its completle dirge, which is not the kids fault because they didn't write it. The parents just want to see their kids singing on the stage. They won't care who's not standing on straight, or who's fidgeting, or smiling. They will be focussing on their own DC's.

The difference between this school and the one I was in last xmas is insane. They were much more laid back last year, and as a result it was a better show. I can't help but thinking its all about the teachers and their egos more than anything else. I'm right arent I?

cardibach Tue 08-Dec-15 16:28:06

No, you're not right. Your attitude is pretty awful - have you ever had a permanent contract? It makes a difference.
Do you think children shouldn't be challenged to do the best they can in all fields?

thebestfurchinchilla Tue 08-Dec-15 16:31:30

I think school are judged on this kind of thing along with class assemblies. Naturally, the staff want it to reflect well on the school. You should be supporting them not undermining. Chn should be discouraged from fidgeting, even reception chn can sit still.

blaeberry Tue 08-Dec-15 16:39:34

I have just been to my dc show. The HT says practice for two weeks max, don't let it interfer with learning and keep it fun. It wasn't great but the kids had fun. However, I think it would also be reasonable to aspire to slightly more because some things need to be worked for and are better for doing so and the kids can taken greater pride in their efforts. A balance needs to be struck.

Yanbu if the script is poor.

GlitteryRollers Tue 08-Dec-15 16:44:26

Of course they should be challenged. But honestly, the kids were obviously bored shitless. It's lots of standing around for long periods of time. All im saying is that it doesn't need to be so serious. Surely it should be fun for the kids?

winterswan Tue 08-Dec-15 16:47:40

What an unpleasant post cardi

I agree with you OP. Surely part of the fun of small children performing is that it always goes wrong? fgrin

GlitteryRollers Tue 08-Dec-15 16:54:28

Winterswan at one of my childhood xmas concerts a pantomime cow fell off the stage. I think the headteacher of this school would have a heart attack if something like this happened at his concert grin

winterswan Tue 08-Dec-15 16:56:25

I love the monotone of little Lancashire accents announcing THURR IS NAW RUM AT T'INN fsmile

howabout Tue 08-Dec-15 16:59:52

When DD2 was 5 the best part of her school nativity was watching her and her friend squabbling and bashing into each other's angel wings and halos.

DD1 had the starring role in her version and it was properly stressful watching and wondering if she would remember all her lines.

DD3 was off sick last week and came home upset on Monday as she didn't know all the words. I had to be wipey Mum and get a practise sheet only to have her sing all 8 songs to me note and word perfect. Fully expecting her to get stage fright and not sing a word on the day like she did last year.

I agree with you Op grin

Also have absolutely no problem with anyone's troublesome younger sibling coming along to watch. fgrin

messystressy Tue 08-Dec-15 17:00:07

I'm not a teacher but agree with OP. Standing for long periods of time when you are 4 is a challenge at the best of times. I expect the Christmas concert to be a bit rubbish - but love it all the same. It shouldn't be a military display.

But I'm clearly not in tune with most of the posters, and am glad my DC's school are laid back about it.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 08-Dec-15 17:01:56

The best bits in school shows are where the children's personalities come through, when you spot a pair of friends holding hands, or the child who really goes for the boogying during the musical interlude, or the one who has managed to climb inside their costume like a tortoise (looks severely at DS).

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 08-Dec-15 17:04:50


howabout Tue 08-Dec-15 17:08:49

cardi I think most younger kids are challenged to do their best in the creative arts when they are having fun and are part of the creative process, not when standing around bored witless and rehearsing ad infinitum.

momb Tue 08-Dec-15 17:09:42

In Reception my DD had a speaking part (I forget what). One of the other Mums sitting behind me kept catching DDs eye and making her laugh.
After the concert the HT brought out a big tin of biscuits, offered them to every child on the stage except my DD because she had ruined it for everyone.
So yes, I do think that some Teachers in some schools take the whole thing too seriously.

roundtable Tue 08-Dec-15 17:17:16

I worked at a school where the head teacher used to berate the children after their dress rehearsal every year.

Luckily, I've never experienced anything like it since so maybe it's a one off and you're at the same school I used to work at! I doubt it

WhatTheHellDoIDoNoww Tue 08-Dec-15 17:27:40

Wonder if the school in the OP is my older DCs former primary school! Drama teacher came from a family of performing 'artistes'. You would have thought the school production was a Broadway show. There were auditions, rehearsals after school, we all had to order costumes from the school (no option to make own) for at least £15 a pop, teacher shouting at fidgeters etc. She always chose the same kids for the lead roles - kids who attended her family performing arts school hmm. There used to be around 6 'performances'.

The thought of giving less confident kids a chance to shine was a no no. Many parents complained but nothing was done.

Just awful.

ClarkL Tue 08-Dec-15 17:31:53

I was amazed at the difference between primary Christmas plays and secondary (OK so I've been to 1 secondary school one) but the kids at the secondary school one had more say in what they did, took pride in what they were doing as they chose what to do AND it was held at the local auditorium so there was a bar for the parents, there should ALWAYS be a bar when forced to watch kids perform, the thing is, because it was very much run by the kids they worked hard and the performances were genuinely very good. Primary schools need to stop 'forcing' these things, make it fun, give the kids some say in what they do. I don't imagine any child wants to do it badly and its pretty scary getting up in front of people so you are absolutely right OP, it should be fun - this is afterall teaching them confidence in public speaking and performing NOT the music/drama teachers opportunity to shine

Draylon Tue 08-Dec-15 17:33:52

There's a happy medium to be found.

There's no doubt that the quality of the nativity was higher back when all DC had to audition for their parts; which meant that 15 DC would get parts, another 15 might be in a choir- and the rest sat in the audience.

However, my DC had the benefit of going to Infants, then Juniors, both in schools where 'all shall have parts'. Infants was really sweet; the littlies doing their best to behave and sing; the inevitable stage fright with teacher holding a child's hand and helping them with their parts, lots of big singing numbers, bellowed at the top of lungs; all well rehearsed with the inevitable 'moments', but with happy DC and amused, charmed parents!

Juniors ratcheted it up a gear. Little interludes where small ensembles played instruments, duets might sing, the choir sang 3 part harmonies; the main parts were auditioned for but every child had a part and a costume. Again, huge success.

Both scenarios owed spade-loads of credit to the effort and dedication of our DC's teachers and parent helpers.

And this in bog standard state schools, here!

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 08-Dec-15 17:36:28

It might depend on whether or not parents have to pay to watch. We do (but we're in Australia) so it's more important that the production is relatively good (although when it goes wrong it adds to the general hilarity, so I'm never bothered).

But this year, apparently it took up too much time. So they're "reconsidering" doing the school play now, which I've already objected to, as I think it's an important thing for children to do (the whole school takes part). Taking the attitude that "it shouldn't interfere with LEARNING in CLASSROOMS" sucks more than trying to make a decent performance.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 08-Dec-15 17:38:09

I know what you mean op

the show should be a sign of all their joy and their personalities. whether Mary cries behind the donkey or the angels stand backwards on one leg. I want to see what the kids have done. not what some head teacher has instilled in them. through fear.

am. hour is too long the kids will fidget. just part of it

GlitteryRollers Tue 08-Dec-15 17:42:11

OMG momb that head sounds like an absolute cunt of the highest order. Please tell me you marched down to the school and tore a strip off him?

Obviously I'm not going to give too much information away, but I've had to gag myself to prevent myself from laughing at the sheer wankery of the whole thing. The head is actually standing at the front "conducting" the kids singing like they are peforming at the Royal Albert Hall. It's hilarious. What a fucking pretentious prick.

fresta Tue 08-Dec-15 17:45:05

I think it's a tricky situation for teacher's. On one hand it doesn't really matter what the concert is like as long as the children are doing their bit and parent's get to come and long and feel proud of their Dc. On the other hand though, the children are a reflection of the teacher's input, and with a few hundred expectant adults all watching the DCs it's no wonder they feel pressured. I think most school's try to strike a balance. The kids feel proud when they have done their best and learn more from the experience when the emphasis is put on performing to your best. There's not much point in doing it without some expectations. However, teacher's need to be realistic about how long is appropriate for practicing and have some perspective!

amysmummy12345 Tue 08-Dec-15 17:57:11

Take it you won't be applying for any jobs coming up there OP? grin

Draylon Tue 08-Dec-15 17:58:01

Our secondary has a bar; and a professional theatre. Some scrote did them a favour about 10-12 years ago and burned the school assembly hall down, but the school got lottery funding to build this amazing, 400 seater theatre, which other local secondaries use to host their Xmas concerts etc, as well as professional touring theatre companies and orchestras!. My DC both got the opportunity to do their Y6 'leavers' play there as 6 primaries feed this secondary and they all get the use of the facilities for free. It was great. The Y6 DC had to audition, and both mine did! (To my proud horror!). Neither is remotely interested in performance, and I recall feeling ill with anxiety for both, 2 years separated, as the cue for their lines came up for the first few times- til I relaxed in the knowledge they were handling it all amazingly, and came away having taken part in a well rehearsed, funny and professionally produced (inc lighting, sets, mics etc) performance, something that will stay with them forever.

What an experience!

To answer the OP, it sounds as if your xmas thing/nativity isn't being well handled. It's not only a pity for the bored, disruptive DC, but also for those DC who get their first taste of the limelight at these things, spoiled by general ennui.

One final aside: I recall a mistake my GS made in 1979 with the Y9s (yes, the Third Form!) and a musical. I don't recall what it was but it was a real dirge and the whole year had to be involved (120 of us). I was in the choir, but such was the level of apathy amongst Y9 in general; the 'being forced' element; the desperation of the music teachers trying to pull it off- it wasn't looking good- and then the subsequent horror and fury of the HM (think Mrs Thatcher but without the warmth...grin) when, on the opening night, the author was her guest and we fucked it up completely; but didn't give a rat's arse. We were coerced 13-14 year old girls. They should've known better rather than to make the whole year perform! And oh, the bollocking Y9 got in the following morning's assembly, then all Y9 lessons were cancelled for the morning, the choir's all day- and we were rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed, hour after hour, 9-3.30pm- and gave a much, much better performance that evening! grin

Youarentkiddingme Tue 08-Dec-15 18:01:17

Well I agree and disagree.
I do believe children should be taught and expected to stand still and smile during a performance as this is part of what performing is.
However I think this is much easier if it's made an enjoyable experience and they are engaged in the show itself.

As a parent I couldn't care less if my child keeps still. I was more annoyed the year he was kept out of view because his asd meant music would induce some bouncing and flapping. I was gutted the school felt he would be a let down to their image. angry

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