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Over-rehearsing for Christmas Plays (rant)

32 replies

subtlemouse · 02/12/2008 18:05

DS Yr 4 has spent 21 out of the last 40 lesson periods rehearsing for their school show. The whole of this week will be disrupted for performances.Half the 'actual' lessons have been games/PE. I am very unhappy at the complete abandonment of the rest of the curriculum - no maths, science, little literacy, or anything. (It's an independent, so I guess no redress for lack of literacy hour!) I've raised this in the past and been told 'To put on a show of this standard, this is how much rehearsal is needed'.

Why do teachers get the idea that they are preparing for a Broadway opening instead of a bunch of 9yr olds entertaining their parents? I don't care if they forget their words - but I do care if they forget their times tables because they haven't practiced them for so long...

(Feel better now! thanks for listening)

OP posts:
constancereader · 02/12/2008 18:09

I am so glad I am no longer in charge of the school play, mumsnet continually reminds me why it was such a nightmare. Whatever you do you end up pissing off at least half your parents....

schneebly · 02/12/2008 18:11

Seems quite a lot - I think children learn a lot of valuable things from being part of a production though - things they wouldn't learn in a literacy or numeracy lesson. I am an arty farty type though so I may be biased! Will see how I get on when I finish my teacher training!

schneebly · 02/12/2008 18:12

My son's school recently had an 'arts week' where they barely did anything but arts for a whoole week - it was great!

subtlemouse · 02/12/2008 18:16

I don't have a problem with them doing a show at all, just the complete takeover of everything else - and the lack of comparable weeks spent on other subjects. I think it is because the staff (at this school, I'm not making a sweeping generalisation about all teachers everywhere) like doing shows, and lack the will to do a science week. It's fine for the arty kids (and the sporty ones get their days with the endless football matches and swimming galas and sports days) but the academic kids who might really enjoy an in-depth period with an academic subject don't get a week devoted to them...

OP posts:
ScummyMarx · 02/12/2008 18:16

He'll learn loads and be fab in the play- don't be such a killjoy!

TheProvincialLady · 02/12/2008 18:23

The academic kids get almost every day devoted to them. It does them all good to broaden their interests and learn new skills.

Littlefish · 02/12/2008 18:30

I think you're being really unreasonable and a complete misery guts! The only things I remember about being at school were the wonderful productions we used to put on.

The "academic kids" that you refer to have almost the whole of the rest of the year dedicated to them.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with focussing on the creative arts for a few weeks. It's an area that's sadly neglected in most schools in my opinion and provides a much needed balance, particularly in those independent schools which tend to be overly focussed on academic achievement .

subtlemouse · 02/12/2008 18:40

I accept that I am a misery and probably unreasonable too.

I also accept that much of the school year is academic (and a good thing too).

I guess part of my ishoo is that these arty/sporty things are the only ones that are put on in a public forum for the kids to demonstrate to their families what they have done, and those who do not shine in these areas but do in others don't get the same public applause. And yes of course I'm only because my DS is neither arty nor sporty and I get fed up of the mums of the golden ones having an opportunity to glow with reflected glory!!!

OP posts:
Littlefish · 02/12/2008 18:44

Is your ds academic subtlemouse? Presumably, the school makes a big deal of exam results - that will be your moment to shine

subtlemouse · 02/12/2008 18:56

He is, Littlefish - and I'm v proud of him (obviously) but 16 and exam results are a long way away yet and the play is tomorrow.

He will be lovely in it too - and I expect everyone will be wordperfect!!!

OP posts:
Smithagain · 02/12/2008 20:09

So he's spent 75% of his time doing something that encourages self-confidence, artistic expression and teamwork, as well as allowing some less academic children to shine? Sounds great! (As long as they do also learn their times tables at some point in the year.)

The other week I watched the whole of our Year 5 take part in an opera, as part of the education programme of a local opera company. One of the lads in our school's special unit for children with speech and language problems absolutely stole the show. He SHONE with confidence and had the audience in the palm of his hands.

Now that's education!

themildmanneredjanitor · 02/12/2008 20:11

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

subtlemouse · 02/12/2008 20:21

True, O Janitor, and so am I which I guess is why I am so cranky

OP posts:
Littlefish · 02/12/2008 20:22

Well done for taking it on the chin subtlemouse! I hope that having a rant has made you feel better.

Enjoy the play tomorrow.

Hulababy · 02/12/2008 20:26

I have been in DD's school for 3 days a week recently, helping out. Yes they rehearse lots and lots but believe me it is all worthwhile time. The children are still learning. And it really does take this amount of time to get the play looking as good as they do on the day.A lot of effort is needed to get a bunch of primary school children in the right place at the right tiime on stage, and knowing all their lines and songs.

onthewarpath · 02/12/2008 20:50

The other alternative would be to do rehearsing outside regular school hours. Would you really be up for it?

sunnydelight · 03/12/2008 06:50

The academic kids shine all the way through school; give the others a break! Believe me if you have kids (like mine) whose only chance at a moment of glory is art or sport you grab that chance

Hulababy · 03/12/2008 08:45

At DD's school ALL the children take part on the school play. This year it is just the infant classes (R to Y2) doing the nativity (there is a play for the older ones later in the year IIRR). Y2 children have the main roles, but the younger ones still have roles and parts that involve being on stage. Few have speaking parts - 4 narrators and Joseph. DD sings solo as Mary. Another child sings a small solo part also. The kings and camel have a quartet. So that is 10 out of 14 so far with things to do - the other 4 also have other "important" tasks to do on stage, even if not talking or singing alone.

TBH having seen them rehearse the children really do appear to be learning some good skills through the process.

And those with the key roles are not the ones who always get them IYSWIM.

brainfreeze · 03/12/2008 10:40

I'm a volunteer at a primary school and I 'hate' this time of year. The poor kids are constantly being marched into the hall to rehearse over and over again their parts in the play.

They are bored stiff and fed up by week 2. Usually at this point the 'director's' patients is at it's wits end and their is allot of frustration and yelling at the kids that 'just don't get it'

I've also seen children missing their play time all because they weren't able to concentrate long enough or pay attention to when it was their turn to be on ... R I D I C U L O U S !!!!

Please, please if the parents saw what most of these kids have to go through to get to the end result, I'm sure they would rather it did not happen.

I know some of you may think I'm a kill joy - believe me, I'm not ... just don't think a head teacher gloating over how amazing their school is for putting on such a wonderful production is worth the stress it must cause the kids. Just an insiders very cynical point of view.

Baaaa Humbug

Hulababy · 03/12/2008 11:09

Fortunately rehearsals are nothing like that at DD's school. Phew!

katsh · 03/12/2008 12:46

brainfreeze I'm with you. My oldest who is 8 is fed up with missing P.E and art and all the afternoon fun stuff, in order to sit through rehersals for the yr 6 play in which she sings a few songs with the junior choir. It's a recipe for cranky children. Even worse - the teachers are now sending her home with the work that she has missed during rehersal time, so that when she comes home she still can't have fun! And all this so that we can keep her up to 10pm for 2 nights in 2 weeks time. I think school productions are great, but sometimes the schools seem to forget that their cast are quite young, very tired children .

floaty · 03/12/2008 13:07

DS3 is bored stupid with his play and he quite likes that sort of thing and he is academic.He is in year 2 and it is an infant production so all recep,yr1 and 2, and it will be lovely and they will enjoy it on the day but the rehersals are endless and there is definately some frayed temper behaviour on the part of teachers and pupils from the little things he has let slip.
He was really upset to miss games this week and next week and last week,little boys need to run around in the fresh air not stand in a stuffy hall for an hour ; and then they are surprised that some get fidgety and cross tempered

brainfreeze · 03/12/2008 15:49

Had to post again - am fuming

Just got home with Ds2 who informed me that several boys in his class were put on the sad face today because they weren't paring attention during rehearsals

They get to take this sad face home - hopefully their parents may have the savvy to talk to them about why they got it and pop in to have a 'word'. As several of you have mentioned, if you want to cage a wild animal, god help you!

TheProvincialLady · 03/12/2008 17:57

Would you expect the children not to be put on the sad face for not paying attention in maths/art/PE? Participation and attention at school are non negotiable, whether you (or your parents) think that the work is 'worthwhile'.

brainfreeze · 03/12/2008 19:05

I think 'their' expectations of children's attention span are unrealistic. To do the same thing day in day out - waiting for your turn - saying the same lines - standing for long periods of time waiting for someone else to say their lines and waiting for their turn etc etc.

So today, a usually well behaved group of children being chastised for not being able to behave like small adults - SURPRISE SURPRISE!!

I don't think it is the same as in an academic lesson as they are hopefully varied and presented in an engaging way, if the teacher is any good.

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