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Why do the same kids always get the main parts in school assemblies/plays?

(69 Posts)
SomeEnchantedEvening Wed 12-Oct-16 14:54:45

What is the objective of putting on a class assembly? Why is it always the same children who get chosen for the main parts? Is it so that the teacher can show to his or her colleagues what a wonderful performance they can deliver so they play safe and choose the same children all the time? And why is it that there are 5 or 6 parts with loads of lines and the rest of the children have 1 or 2 lines if they're lucky? I know it's difficult to share parts out fairly - and teachers have more than enough on their plates anyway - it must surely be obvious to the teachers that they are choosing the same children again and again? I know some children will not want the main parts - but in my experience it's not that the slightly quieter children are approached and asked if they would like to be considered for a bigger part. My daughter practised so hard at home and the teachers told me she gave a really good audition - they could hear her at the back of the hall - and yet still she only got 1 line. I know this is a commonly expressed frustration and I just wondered if anyone's school operates a slightly fairer system or I just have to accept that this is the way of the world?? Thanks.

ReallyTired Wed 12-Oct-16 14:57:54

Life is not fair. Some children have clear confident speaking voices where as other mumble inaudibly. Some children have Sen and even one line is a struggle. At least every child gets a line.

messystressy Wed 12-Oct-16 14:59:50

This is a bug bear of mine too. My DS desperately wants to be able to speak in front of the school, but never gets the chance. He was once given a line in an assembly and was so chuffed - only for the teacher to forget his line and skip that part of the assembly. He hasn't had the chance again - in three years. I have brought it up but the teachers were dismissive, "oh, everyone gets their go" etc. I think it is because the other children are 'easier' - they have their confidence, the teacher won't need to encourage them, they speak clearly etc. I think it's really sad.

Mylittlelights Wed 12-Oct-16 14:59:52

Two of mine always did, the other five of mine did not.

HairsprayBabe Wed 12-Oct-16 15:00:47

The teacher wants the assembly/play to go smoothly so they choose the children they can rely on to be confident and get the lines right.

It isn't personal, if you look at sports the children that get picked for school teams are the fastest/most agile whatever for the same reason.

The children with "big" parts in the play may be terrible at sports or maths so it is nice to give them a chance to shine at something they are good at.

It is a shame for your daughter, but I am sure she is good at lots of other things, and if you continue building her confidence then maybe the teacher will think she is a good bet for a "big" part.

Biscuitsneeded Wed 12-Oct-16 15:01:23

Some kids are better at that kind of thing. Just as some other kids are picked every year for the football team - because they're better than the others. Just as it's often the same kids every year who sit on the 'top table' - because they're brighter and can cope with more/more difficult work. Life isn't fair. I do think school assemblies and productions should involve everyone but some kids find saying even one line in public an ordeal; there's no point giving them a leading role just to make things 'fair'.

Tonsiltennis Wed 12-Oct-16 15:04:12

Life isn't fair and neither is this. It sucks. My SN boy has to endure pointless rehearsals for a show he has to stand at the back of.
By all means give the bright little twinkles a platform to shine, but for this for whom this is a bad fit, send them off to do something else!

AmericanPastoral Wed 12-Oct-16 15:05:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theknackster Wed 12-Oct-16 15:08:54

DS2 made a massive effort to learn the lyrics to a long song they were going to do in their summer play, and was rewarded by being given a lead role for the first time ever, so it's not all schools/teachers.

NickiFury Wed 12-Oct-16 15:14:39

My child has cried over this - always being the bloody narrator in a black/blue/white t-shirt while all her mates prance around in pretty costumes. She has high functioning autism so they probably have very low expectations hmm.

There's one child who has now left to go to prep school (obvs) who had the main part in every performance, every term for four years. Honestly I got to the point where I was trying to suppress my laughter at the obviousness of it every time he strode forward to begin his first lines. It's annoying but what can you do? I have to pick my battles for dd or I would be permanently camped out in the reception waiting to grab the head teacher.

PatriciaHolm Wed 12-Oct-16 15:26:53

Assemblies here are shared out pretty much equally, everyone gets the same number of lines.

Most shows are the same. The big yearly drama production is done on aptitude, singing ability and general attitude towards learning the lines and coming to rehearsals, of which there are a lot, so need to go to those who will make the effort and be good at the role.

ShelaghTurner Wed 12-Oct-16 15:32:58

I have a confident enthusiastic child who never gets picked for any part. And she always gets passed over for everyday jobs in class and roles like eco warrior or fitness friend. And yet every report says how helpful she is and how they can always count on her. I've had enough and am bringing it up next week at parents evening. She's having her confidence chipped away and it isn't fair, she's such a lovely child and so willing to please. I have left it so far but she's noticed now and it makes her, and me so sad.

Millionprammiles Wed 12-Oct-16 15:38:50

It makes perfect sense to award the parts to those most able.
Its also very divisive. So why do SOME schools do it?

Its unlikely the child who spends her evenings looking after younger siblings or is a carer for a disabled parent or who's parents work long hours in minimum wage jobs and speak English as a second language, will have the same opportunity to be well rehearsed (although may be just as able/talented).

Thankfully dd's school seems to have moved itself out of such a twee 1950s ideology.

redskytonight Wed 12-Oct-16 15:50:18

Not something I've experienced. At infants school and at school assemblies, there is an equal number of lines/time on stage per child.

The junior school puts on a big play every 2 years and it's by audition - it's "understood" that Y3/4 will get smaller parts with the major parts going to Y5/Y6. The most any child would hope for was a small part in their first play, and a large part in the other.

AmeliaJack Wed 12-Oct-16 16:00:21

This comes up time and time again on MN and I have never experienced it at my children's schools which have always been very fair.

Perhaps it's a matter of who volunteers? I have one DC who will never volunteer and one who volunteers for everything.

Okkitokkiunga Wed 12-Oct-16 16:05:54

Our school asks who wants lots of lines, a few lines etc. Then allocate like that, but if they volunteer for a big part already having had one in previous years then they won't get one unless there aren't enough volunteers.

Ladybunnyfluff Wed 12-Oct-16 16:09:19

NickiFury - I was always the narrator and this used to really upset me so I sympathise with your DC.

PterodactylToenails Wed 12-Oct-16 16:17:59

I agree. I think it is boring going to the school plays and seeing the same children getting the parts year after year. I don't expect to see award winning performances from a school play so giving the big parts to the same children who "perform the best" is unnecessary. I did query this with my sons teacher one year because actually, I wanted to see my son encouraged to get up and do something because his confidence was also being chipped away at. He was given a few lines and did fantastically and it really raised his confidence.

KERALA1 Wed 12-Oct-16 16:25:39

Our school scrupulously fair every child has a speaking bit.

Being a narrator is the curse of the good reader / academic child. Dd was usually this come nativity while her less academic friends pranced around as sparkly Angels. We got her pretty hair accessories to make up for it!

messystressy Wed 12-Oct-16 16:46:12

Am I the only one in the world who thinks children are not fully formed when they enter primary school? It saddens me that children are labeled at such an early age. Obviously the more public speaking a child does, the better they will be. It's also about building confidence and giving those less able a little push rather than confining them to "not good enough". Of course more shy children would never volunteer - but that's not to say they couldn't do a great job, but might have to work harder for it.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Wed 12-Oct-16 16:56:20

Yep, I've finally gone in and had a moan after 6 years of this. My DD and her friends are really demoralised and fed up with it.

WipsGlitter Wed 12-Oct-16 17:28:27

It did happen at my sons school. I'm sure it was to make the teachers life easier.

AllTheShoes Wed 12-Oct-16 20:24:13

KERALA Being a narrator is the curse of the good reader / academic child. Dd was usually this come nativity while her less academic friends pranced around as sparkly Angels. We got her pretty hair accessories to make up for it!

You're so right! We got dd1 a sparkly party dress of the sort I'd usually say was a waste of money because she was so sad about it.

Reindeerlily Wed 12-Oct-16 20:42:31

This annoys the fuck out of me. I've worked in schools and used to see it coming. The naughty kids would always get a few lines and the good as gold ones would get shoved to the back to 'sing'. Sorry but shouldn't the good kids get some kind of recognition?! Should t they get their time to shine?
I'm also aware I shouldn't class kids as 'naughty' but I have so deal with it.

HairsprayBabe Thu 13-Oct-16 08:15:43

I am confused, I always thought the Narrator was the best part! You keep the whole show together and get the most lines. I would always rather have been narrator than star or angel or fairy.

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