This is where drama, performing arts and dance teachers get together on TES. This group is a great source of lesson ideas and inspiration and is the place to share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers.
I've not posted in ages but am unstuck on this one.....
I just started at a new school in January. At my last school, which was a sister school to this one (that's how I got this job), the kids LOVED Performing Arts of any kind. When i started there the kids missed the old drama teacher and it took me a while to get my stamp on things and by the time I left the kids were totally into drama. However, there were always a majority of students who had a 'can do, will do' attitude to my lessons, even in the early days.
At this new school, the kids lack this attitude completely. A number of factors contribute to this:
- they've had supply (not very good supply from what I've heard) for a long time and done very little performing. When they ahve performed, no rules have been put in place or adhered to
- I'm a new teacher, kids will always push their luck
- Drama and Performing arts are very low profile in the school (something I've been employed to change)
- generally, school wide, students have very low self esteem, a real lack of social skills and no desire or drive to succeed.
The kids come to my lessons with a 'I hate performing, I won't perform and you can't make me' attitude. The trouble is, I CAN'T make them. I've tried all sorts of tactics. I go round and watch their work myself so that it's not in front of the whole class. I do teacher in role so they are in role without realising it. I have even had the odd lesson where I judge them purely on development and no performance is done. None of this is helping.
To put it into context I had a year 9 group yesterday who I got into pairs to do a role play. because they didn't choose their pairs they literally sat staring at each other blankly like they'd never seen each other before even though they have been in the same class for 3 years. If I let them choose their groups, they just sit and chat about what they're doing at the weekend. ONE group in the whole class did some drama, albeit fairly basic. This is fairly indicative of most classes across the school, bar one year 9 class who love performing and my year 7s who, luckily, are still moudable and willing to at least try even if they don't much like it.
I am at my wits' end with it. I try talking to my line manager but she is on SLT and her time is spread thinly so I often get, 'Let's chat about it tomorrow' and then the chat never happens because one of us is too busy. I've also been given the advice that i should say that today they don't have to perform but next week they do. This doesn't work because next week I will ahve the same issues. When I speak to otehr staff in different departments they simply say that Creative Arts has always been a sticking point and historically students have found it difficult to open up in those lessons due to self esteem issues and that in their lessons, the kids have no drive to succeed either and simply 'get on because they have to'.
This coupled with other issues to do with work are really getting me down. I dread coming into work. I often sit feeling like I need to cry. Sometimes in lessons I have pretty much given up trying and have found myself saying to myself, just let them sit and chat that's the best you'll get out of them. Clearly this is not productive at all and I can't believe I am resorting to that!
I used to consider myself a good teacher, not fabulous, but good. But now I have no way of enthusing these kids to want to do drama and I am fed up with it. I want to quit.
Any help gratefully received.
I'm sorry your having such a hard time, alot of what you describe I have been through and it's terrible and soul destroying! From the sounds of it, you need to build up from year 7 onwards - like you said they are much easier to mould and shape and the ethos/attitude that you wish to build and instill will start with them. If I were you I would focus on year 7 lessons and curriculum - I feel that is the area where you can make the most changes and have the most impact. What are year 8's like? Unfortunately, it sounds as if you are too late with the year nines, and lets be frank, they have't got alot of drama left have they? They know they wont be doing it for much longer and this will adding to thier lax and negative view of the subject.
It's not your fault what has happened before, but you can change what happens in the future within your department and I really feel that year 7's are the way to go - the new cohort in Sept be sparkling and brand new and completely yours to mould! Its a long game that you are playing and in the mean time I feel that with the tricky year 9 classes they need to punished for refusing to do the work you set, because that is what they are doing. They are required to do an hour of drama a week (or whatever it is) and they simply shouldn't be able to just 'opt out'. Also, create lessons that are as un-teacher led as possible - even though they do not do the work are they relatively well behaved? If this is the case at least you can try to focus on the pupils who really do want to work, i'm sure there will be some!! I really do empathise with you, I have had some terrible experiences with year 9's (again who had been taught some very bad habits before me) and the best you can do is try to enagage them in somehting they are likely to be interested in, manage the behaviour and punish pupils who do not tow the line, good luck!!
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
At the very least look at The Technique on my website. Works
with all year groups.
Then have a look at Physical Theatre for Yr 9, Message in
a Bottle for Year 8 and 3 Skills for Year 7. Loads of GCSE and BTEC resources too.
As SLT are supporting you in raising profile of PA, get them
to support you doing a project for Year 6 induction. Use Big School Nightmares.
Won’t need a lot of preparation and would be an ideal project to kick off a
Drama club as extra-curricular.
All resources are searchable on my site with free samples.
All resources written by people who’ve been where you are now.
Thanks. Year 8 are a mixed bag, some are still like yr 7 some more like yr 9. The behaviour is average so you get bad and good eggs. Year 9 are generally ok behaved, can be a bit rude but yr 8 are the worst I'd say. I like the idea of the raffle thing but not sure it'd work in practice as even if I gave them a ticket, some would refuse still.
I have also ordered Getting the B*****s into drama and Drama structures to try and help me.
Sorry I replied in the wrong place re: raffle tickets as I also have this thread on personal!
Agh! Sounds exactly like the situation I was in a few years ago.
One thing which really suprised me that my nighmare year 9s enjoyed was sitting reading a play out loud as a class.Especially "Our Day Out" or "Teechers".
They don't have to perform every lesson. They could also watch dvd clips and talk about the acting. They could also do some work backstage work on lighting and costume design.
Keep praising and rewarding thoose who are performing and do not allow any negative comments.Seperate the most hard line "I am not performing" and give them a clipboard and another task to do - e.g. 'director' of the best behaved group. or Doing the sound fx. Reward them if they do this task. Once the ring leaders are removed the others may well perform.
Most of all give yourself a break.
thanks for all the advice, I am thinking of 'starting from scratch' with some classes over exactly what drama is....
I've just received my copy of Sue Cowley's 'Getting the B*****s into Drama' (still waiting on second book) and so far it's very good although she suggests a game called 'Poor pussy' which would never work in any school i ever worked in... I shall adapt it to poor cat!
You can do it!
'Drama games for those who like to say no' By Chris Johnston. New book, out about a month. Should help you 'trick' them into perfroming.
Thanks Pinkeyes, I'll look that book up!
me too !!!
Reading your post has struck a chord with me - I am not alone!! It is so demotivating having to come to these kinds of lessons each week, and to try to enthuse these students seems almost impossible. I have a situation currently (Y9 Friday P5...) which is simialr to yours. They do not want to do anything, they cannot work with each other and spend their time chatting, sitting blankly or running around and hiding on the stage behind the curtains. Its a fun way to end the week... I usually go home close to tears, cannot face keeping them fro detention as I have had enough and dont want to break in front of the kids.
However, I have tried a few things which are looking like they are staring to work.
I have been playing some teamwork and problem solving games (put in a saving the world context) which gets the students working together - things like crossing the room on 4 chairs with your team (shark infested custard type activities) your PE department might have some good little games like this you could try.
I have done some circle games where students can pass if they are not up for joining in so it gives them the option to be passive for now. I have used paper plates being passed around the circle each person has to mine what they are using them for eg: sunglasses, mirror, headphones etc. They found this quite engaging and we went round a fair few times too.
Focusing on circle games and quick fire response games work well and have no pressure of a performance.
I have not cracked them completely by any means, however, lessons aren't anywhere near as hellish and I am able to focus on the positives and give praise as much as posible which is much less stressful for me.
I am aware at this time of the year lots of Y9 will only have about 10 lessons left (that is about it!!) and so I feel that enabling them to work together and improving thier social skills is a much more productive use of time rather than trying to plug away at traditional drama.
Not sure how helpful this is, as I know I'm not coming from a perfectly successful place, but the advice is there if you want it.
Good luck!! x
Top of page
TES Editorial © 2012 TSL Education Ltd. All pages of the Website are
reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any material on the
Website for any commercial purposes. TSL Education Ltd Registered in England (No 02017289) at 26 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4HQ