Warning: this blog may well turn into an opportunity for me to convince myself to do something that could be a complete disaster!!
At school, we have lots of extra-curricular clubs going on: all the usual sports, art, drama, cooking, computing, country dancing, recorders, choir, Bug Club (a sneaky opportunity to get some of our reluctant readers to read online books), the list goes on. Our clubs are generally led by teachers: there isn’t an expectation for us to do this, but lots of us give up our time after school to provide our children with additional opportunities and experiences. They are all run for fun, but actually, the children learn a great deal from them: cooperation, teamwork, performance skills, life skills and the commitment needed to stick with a club.
Over the years, I’ve dabbled in lots. Some have been more successful than others: my early venture into country dancing was always a huge hit and the local Country Dance Festival for primary schools was always the culmination of weeks of practise and a huge hit. My one year of orchestra, however, not so great: even though I’d played in a band for many years, I had no idea about how to play an instrument other than a brass one. It seems you need a bit of knowledge to get through even a simple piece of music. However, we had a laugh, we managed some vague semblance of a performance, and then I consigned the orchestra to the bin.
This year, I ran a computing club until Christmas, which was great fun. We made stories using “Comic Strip It” on the Learnpads, and then created ridiculously complicated games using Scratch. Technology conspired against us at times, but some of the outcomes were great. Then, because I had already committed to a drama club, I switched in Term 3. We are busy working on” A Comedy of Errors” by William Shakepeare in preparation for the Gloucester Schools Partnership Shakespeare Festival – a fantastic gathering of children from Reception to Year 6 performing a Shakespeare play together. I’m really looking forward to it. However, here comes my dilemma: when the drama club finishes at Easter, do I give myself a break, or do I take on another club?
I do really enjoy running clubs, but they do have an impact elsewhere. Clubs finish at 4.15, but without doubt, there will always be a child waiting to be collected some 10 or 15 minutes later. That does frustrate me: some parents do see clubs as free childcare and make no effort their children on time, without sparing a thought for the teacher who still has a pile of books to mark and a classroom to tidy. Having two young children, I get roughly 10 minutes in the classroom after the club before I have to leave to pick them up. I could get a lot done in the hour of club time. And then there’s the side of me that thinks, “Well those people don’t do clubs. I’ve already done two. Why should I do another?” But on the other hand, losing an hour a week is a small price to pay to teach children a new skill, to spend time with them in a less formal situation and to have a laugh together.
Now, here comes the big question: if I do take on a new club, what to do? I want to do something that I’m going to enjoy, as well as the children. Something that is fun, but doesn’t take a huge amount of planning or preparation. And preferably, something a bit different. What skills do I have to offer? Well, I’m sure I have many talents, but my mind goes completely blank when it comes to clubs. I’m a musician, I played in all the sports teams at school, I can cook, draw a bit, lots of other things, but those clubs have already been taken. Bizarrely, I keep being drawn to The Great British Sewing Bee. It’s a hot topic of conversation in our house at the moment, with MVNTH having a go at his first wardrobe project this evening. Sewing isn’t a great strength of mine, but it’s something I wish I could do more of. My class made money containers earlier in the year, and lots of them turned out to be quite nifty with a needle and thread or a sewing machine. Would it be complete madness to attempt a sewing club? Numbers would need to be incredibly low, and I would perhaps have to ask for a willing volunteer. I could even ask the parents – could it be a parent and child club? We are trying hard to increase parental involvement at the moment, so it would fit the bill. The projects would have to be straightforward, for my sake, not the children’s, which would need a bit of imagination to make them purposeful and interesting. I can wield a needle and thread, and our DT project showed I knew more than I thought, so what is the worst that can happen? Complete carnage: nothing new there then! I don’t know, at this point in time, I’m thinking “yes”, but I’ve got a few weeks to mull it over and maybe change my mind. You never know, by the end of the year, you could be reading about my sewing triumph and seeing photos of glorious creations.
Wish me luck: I’m going to need it!