Thursday 15 July 2010

Work in Schools

This can be so different from school to school. In a sense I did some work with schools last week. I did a two day workshop for the Aimhigher programme. That went like a dream and I got some fabulous work out of the youngsters. Yesterday I did a short one and a half hour visit to a boys’ school and it almost totally exhausted me.
There was a lot against us: we were moved to the hall at the last minute – the room we were supposed to use had a problem, the girls who were supposed to be joining us from the school next door cancelled at the last minute, it was almost the end of term and of some the session clashed with a drama lesson and – we’re talking about Y9 boys. Forty minutes into the session, some students got hauled out so that a senior teacher could discuss an “incident” with them. And there was this uninteresting-looking woman with greying hair, professing to be a writer for young adults, talking about how to make characters and settings.
And yet:
• They listened well as I read to them and talked about how I came to write The Prophecy and Babel.
• They came up with some fabulous ideas – after we pushed through the silliness.
• They eventually – possibly too late – started to produce some good work.
• They were delighted to receive a signed post card from me – even though one declared he was going to sell it on e-bay. Well, at least that would be interesting, I guess.
• A few hung behind and thanked me personally.
In the end, although it was a tiring visit, I was glad that I’d made it. Appeal to children’s imagination and something exciting always happens.

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