The past week or so in the schools have been an eye-opener to me. Not in a good way, I might add. I have been stunned to see the almost complete disinterest in directing the education of young children. I will start by saying that I have no formal education schooling, but I have taught all ages of students (from 5 to 85) in my acting classes. That experience not-withstanding, I may be missing something. But here’s my gripe:
We have had exactly 1 principal in the last week address the students before our program started. And one teacher of one class also addressed her class. This lack of formally starting a program is baffling to me, for 2 main reasons.
1. It reinforces that good behavior is expected at an assembly. It is a formal beginning to what otherwise is an unsual occurance. Unusual occurances in education are a good thing in my oinion, but one cannot go into these things with no tie to routine. If everything is set loose to happen as it may, it is easy to lose the significance of new situations. It is easy for mob mentality to set in if there is no tie to the routine of proper school behavior.
As relates to me, it is much harder to control the students as the show goes along. It is a lot more work. Granted, it is my job to do so and I’m pretty good at it, but this does not exonerate the school’s staff for failing to do theirs.
2. This is the most important thing to me. Our program is an educational tool that they have chosen to bring into their school. As such, it is a perfect opportunity to focus and direct a learning experience. Our show will certainly teach something to most students who even only peripherally pay attention. However, by taking 2 or 3 minutes before our show to address the student body, a principal or teacher can make the experience 5 or 10 times more meaningful to the students. Those few, brief moments can serve as time to focus their minds on a period of history, to get them thinking and listening for the right things, to get them on the same wavelength as the show. What educator wouldn’t take the opportunity to do that?
Many, if our far-from-exhaustive experience is reflective of the nation as a whole.