Tonight’s workshop was a mixture of laughter and emotion as we revealed some of our memories to the group about our personal experiences of primary school. Equipped with paper and colouring pens, we set out to draw or write about an experience we had at primary school whereby we were told off by a teacher for doing something ‘naughty’!
It was harder for some to think of an example for this, which was humorous in itself. After some creativity and thought we came together again and each shared our story. From knocking egg plants off structures whilst playing chase, to throwing stones over the school fence to singing too loudly to Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie in a Bottle’, the memories being shared differed in their entireties. Despite being humorous, it was clear for some that these recollections of being told off evoked a plethora of emotion, with some feeling as though the teacher was unjust in his/her ways of punishment. I found it particularly interesting that I could draw on a memory straight away because it was something that I have never forgotten, albeit minor in the grand scheme of things, it was interesting to see that things that happen to us a young age remain with us for a long time, into adulthood.
We then split into three groups and one person laid on a big piece of paper and we drew around them. This stencil of a body then represented that of a teacher and we had to label contrasting parts of the body in order to depict the traits a teacher should have. Ideas included ‘patient’, ‘adaptive’, ‘creative’, ‘fair’, ‘calm’ and more, also writing why we thought the teacher should have these attributes! Using this as a stimulus, we took three of our words and made them into freeze frames and the remaining groups had to guess what we were trying to illustrate.
We then took it a step further and did a short improvisation, still in our groups, of a situation whereby a teacher uses two of their attributes in order to resolve a situation or apply their authority. For example, our group played stuck in the mud, one of us got hurt during this and so the teacher had to adapt the game so that we could all join in. This thus illustrated how a teacher should be adaptable and caring.
To end the session, we got into pairs and whilst one person spoke about their memory of being told off in primary school, the other had to act out what the other person was saying. We then swapped roles. I think this is where the poignancy of the stories came out, especially as I was acting out my pair’s story. It enabled us to explore the emotions that the other person must’ve felt at that time.
Despite it being hard to draw on memories from when we were so young, the session allowed us to explore and develop ideas about feelings during primary school and the contrasting emotions we all experience whilst becoming who we are. It was another productive and fun session.