Friday, June 3, 2011

What is going on?

Well this is strange! The month of June has begun and normally my countdown to the summer holidays would also have begun. How many more sleeps to go? Instead, as we approach another weekend I'm shouting No No, it can't be Friday again. What is going on. Somehow the wires in my brain have been crossed. This is not me. Not only would I have this years holidays counted down, I could have next years holidays planned.

The school concert is looming. I'm seen as the creative (crazy) person on staff and over the years this has become my responsibility. I've just spent a week casting the senior concert 8-12 year olds.  Boy, do we have some future Hollywood stars......divas in the making!!

Diva No 1: "I'm not sure I want the part you gave me, I'll think about it and let you know tomorrow"
Me: No Way. Make up your mind now,  in or out.
Diva No 1: Out
 the following day
Diva 2 "I'd like to change the part you gave me yesterday"
Me "NO"
Diva 2: "But I'm uncomfortable in the role"
Me "You asked for it"
Diva 2: I've changed my mind"
Me Do you want to be in this concert?
Diva 2: Yes
Me : "So two choices, do the part or miss out"

Diva 3's Mammy: I don't think my diva is too happy with her part and would like to do something else.
Me: If every child cast yesterday changed their minds and wanted different parts where would we be? It's not happening!!!

Scroll forward 4 hours, my class of 5-6 year olds go home grinning, proudly clutching their first ever script. Wheeeeeeeee they are going on stage. They are in a state of high excitement. No divas or divos here. My wolf will steal the show as well as money from the bank! Little Miss Muffet is doing her best to ensure the poor Spider will find himself arrested after her tall tales. And as for the mad stalker three blind mice, Johnny Rock will find it hard to escape their clutches!

Humming stupid tunes about sitting on my tuffet, I make my way to the senior classes. Time for some serious work. They are over the casting trauma and are ready to get on with it.  They are ready to send a rocket to the sun, don't worry, they'll do it at night time. And the celebrities have arrived for the Weakest Link. I even think I saw Elvis leave the building.....

We start singing when I get a message, one of my pupil's parents wants to talk to me urgently.
She is not happy with her child's role, others have got more lines to say. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
The child is perfectly happy but she is afraid I underestimate her child's talents and it will affect his self confidence.

Am I turning into a grumpy old git or are some children these days totally spoiled? Do parents want their children to get everything they want? Will they ever learn to cope with disappointment.? One year, a couple of 9 year olds decided to boycott the school concert on the night. I found out about it and spoke to them about how it was their classmates they would be letting down. They got it. Then I spoke to the parents. The ringleaders mother said she knew all about it and totally supported her child!! If you don't get what you want throw the dummy (pacifier) out of the pram. Great life lessons!  Where is our society going??

 Casting a concert is always difficult, for every one child happy, there may be nine disappointed initially. But once casting is over, they pull together and have a great time. The advice I gave my own girls was to hold in their disappointment in school, come home and go into a corner and kick, shout and roar for five minutes if they felt like it. But then they were to come out of the corner and be the best, tallest, most graceful tree that anyone has ever seen.

Practice started yesterday, the concert is June 22nd and 23rd. In the meantime, we have sports day -definitely not my responsibility -I will never be accused of being the sporty type, school tours, report cards to be written and graduation masses to be planned.
In addition, there is baking for an 18th birthday party on Saturday, an all day photography workshop the weekend after next and all going well a 327th  birthday party to be hosted. (6 family birthdays before July 19th) . No wonder I want time to slow down and I'm not counting the days.

On the bright side, I finally unpacked my suitcase after my Easter holidays and I'm now wandering the corridors singing two lines of about 20 different songs, I can't remember more than that. It's a good job the children have better memories and are better singers than I am.

Can someone please arrange for June to have 60 days for this one time only?
Ah not to worry, Rita has my room reserved in the "red brick house," a room with a view......and people with white coats and straight jackets. My summer holiday might begin earlier than expected :-))))


  1. Wow, Mary...I admire you for your energy esp. in dealing with the divas/divos! (This is partly why I can't teach kids, haha!) And to respond to your questions...Are kids these days spoiled? Yes. Do the parents want their kids to have everything? Yes (natural, but some parents do turn psycho). And will these kids ever learn to cope with disappointment/failure? Probably not which is why I'm sure the pharmaceutical industry will continue to thrive in the future! ;-)))

  2. Let me get your opinion on a situation that has been stuck in my craw for years. Because I am on the parent side, and didn't make an issue for fear of appearing unreasonable.

    Kid 1 tries out for the Christmas play every year until 3rd grade. He looked forward to it, chattering about what parts he would try for. By 3rd grade, he was subdued. Every other year had ended with no part, and stifled tears after try-outs. He was a straight A student, outgoing, well-behaved, an adult-pleaser. He was not used to a lack of success.

    Kid 2 had the lead for two years, and large speaking parts the other years. In 3rd grade, he told his mom, "I have had a part every year. My friend Kid 1 has never had a part. I'm going to tell Mrs. Choir teacher that I want to give my part to Kid 1." Wasn't that sweet?

    Both kids went to see the teacher after class. Kid 2 presented his plan. In front of both boys, Mrs. Teacher said, "You know, Kid 2, just because you give up your part does not mean that Kid 1 will get it."

    I saw that as cruel and heartless. Throw the kid a bone already. He was capable. Or she could have asked Kid 2 to wait and speak with her privately, or explained to Kid 1 why he never got even the tiniest part.

    How might you have handled it?

  3. I'm totally with Joy on this one about not being able to teach children. Sounds like you have tons of patience in handling, not only the children, but also their parents. =P My friends in medical school tell me that pediatrics is mostly about handling the parents! =P

    I hope you are able to continue having fun throughout this busy month! =)

    P.S. Thank you *so* much for Liking my FB page, Mary!! =) I really appreciate it!!

  4. Ha ha! Kids today are totally spoiled. They need to live with the school's decision. My daughter was cast as a sheep in her last play, so I know at first hand.

  5. Hi Val, In my opinion, Mrs Choir Teacher should try and share the parts out over the years. Shows should be designed to be as inclusive as possible and parts rotated. Kid 2 seems a lovely thoughtful child. The genuine offer should have received a different answer. Her reply was totally unprofessional.
    If the parts are always singing, and Kid 1 is tone deaf, perhaps the teacher does not want to set the child up for a fall. However this is negated by her totally dismissive reply. The dilemma is, if she says she will speak privately to Kid 2, Kid 1 will feel worse. He is being excluded again. He may feel they will speak about him behind his back and will know the teacher doesn't want to give him the part. To tell Kid 1 he can't sing or act will have a negative influence on him for the rest of his life. However, there has to be a way of letting him down gently, extolling his other talents. If he has a passable voice let him have the part. Childrens shows should not be about perfection but about participation and fun. The Christmas play should be varied from year to year so that everyone has an opportunity to "star" We try to ensure that every child gets a speaking part no matter how small and that this is varied over the course of the year. Effort should always be rewarded. We have one child who really can't sing a note solo,and always auditions, but this year we created a part for him where he sings but his character is supposed to sing badly.... He is chuffed.
    My objection is to parents who compare lines. It is her child's first ever concert. He is 5. He is already in a drama group outside school hours. He has not been passed over several times. He has lots of opportunity. Some of the other kids will never have his opportunities. He was happy with his role, he has been told it is important. But by taking his script and coming straight back to the classroom, while he waits in the car, she is sending a message that there is something wrong with his part.
    The divas I object to, are children for whom extra parts were created to ensure they had a "good" part, one opening the show and the other closing it with a solo part in what was originally intended to be a chorus. However they have a right to decide what they want at the expense of others.


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