I’m moving to a new post in September and during this slow time at my old school my thoughts drift to making plans to my new school. Specifically, at the moment, drama clubs. Are they friend or foe?
I don’t run drama clubs in my current school. There are a number of contributing factors to this. Firstly, the isn’t a big culture at my current school of extra curricular activities – it is an upper school and everyone seems to have grown out of them by the time they get to us. Secondly, there is an existing busy schedule between a inter-house drama competition and the school production, so finding time to run a regular drama club has always been difficult. Finally, there is only a 40 minute lunch time, so by the time everyone has got their lunch from the canteen and eaten it the isn’t time for the club to run properly – and as I said, as we don’t have a culture of extra curricular activities, students tend to leave school at the end of the school day.
However, I have run drama clubs elsewhere and to some extent I ran a drama club at my current school with the SSF production. I don’t know where I stand with them. I like them because they get students involved in drama, especially when drama isn’t on the curriculum at Key Stage 3. You get to know the students who are really interested in drama and work with them in a totally different way to lessons. If I draw a comparison to the subject of music and extra curricular activities are the life blood of the department. Students are coming and going, involved in a whole number of different ways. Should drama departments be similar in their approach? Should there be drama clubs for each key stage, or year group, or could you approach it differently – drama clubs for Shakespeare lovers, clubs for naturalism lovers or for musical fans?
On the other hand, extra curricular activities are such a drain on your time and energy. I look at the music teacher in my school (again, another one man department) and he is run ragged because every lunch and after school has some sort of activities that he either has to run or supervise. Music extra curricular activities are fairly easy to organise and plan for – get the music and go. Drama clubs you have to do some sort of planning in advance, it is like having a whole extra lesson in your timetable, a whole session to plan for and add to your existing long and complicated to do list.
I want to collect some success stories of how to make drama clubs work – what are your experiences of making them succeed? How have you overcome these issues? Please comment.