29 December 2008

Storytelling Competition

Or should I say, storytelling/showing/dancing/singing/costuming/setdesigning competition. See my friend Vicky's post for her apt rant on the latest English competition my students endured. Vicky's complaints about the competition differ in detail but reflect my feelings in general.

About three weeks ago, I was told to write a seven-minute story about "making dreams real" that students would be able to memorize and recite. So I tried my best to come up with something that, I thought, ended up being a pretty good story. Not performance, not play. Story. After roster-changes and writing-changes galore, my final three team members were handed the final version of the story four days before the competition. We added in props as late as an hour before. When they went up on stage, I was nervous for them. So many changes, and having to memorize it all? Thankfully (unlike for Reader's Theater) there was no time minimum, so we didn't have to worry about them speeding up because of nerves.

But they didn't! I sat in the second row, recording with my camera while trembling a bit out of nerves for them. And they did it perfectly. There wasn't a forgotten line, and any word left out still kept the story intact. And the moral was delivered perfectly: "Don't wait for a magical wizard to show you the way. Love your family, work hard, respect others, and watch your dreams come true!" I was brimming with pride and confidence for them.

After all was said and done, we got one of the 4th place awards. I'm not going to complain, because I know some teams didn't place at all. But in a society where it seems like the predominant educational philosophy is "first place or bust," I have no idea how to explain why my students didn't do better. I just hope that they are proud of their hard work and accomplishment, and don't resent us too much for not giving them stage directions and head-to-toe costuming.

Anyway, here are the kids that will always be first place to me: Marvin, John, and Mina read "Andy and the Wizard."


Aunt Judy said...

Hey, Katie -- I have been very touched by your last posts. I know that it must have been hard to be so far away at Christmas - but I loved your conclusion. And this post was touching as well because of both the moral of your story and because you so believed in your kids. Kudos to you -- and to them.
Glad that you are enjoying your time there as much as you are -- I am sure you are making quite a difference to those kids!
Happy New Year!!
Love, Aunt Judy

Your Mom said...

The whole process is well served by you all having some influence in their lives. And when you return to the US, you will hopefully take the experiences you have, and the observations you made, and help to make education more balanced for all kids. Thanks for your efforts and for sharing it all with us. Mom

Susan said...

You are SUPER Katie!Happy New Year!Happy 2009!!!

Aubrey said...

These kids = Awesome

I am beaming with B4 pride.

Sterling said...

They are SOOO good! I'm proud of them. Most of the business professionals I tutored in Shanghai couldn't speak like them.