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."