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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Artic antics

May I never be as cold as I was today. It was the teacher's continuing personal development workshop held in an unheated school dining hall. Schools are normally so overheated that I always wear a tshirt, summer or winter. Usually I'm stripping off and gasping for air. Today, fortunately, I had my yoga gear in the back of the van and spent the day wrapped in my relaxation blanket, but not very relaxed!

There were four facilitators. Me and my fabric collage, a lassie using press print - drawing into a polystyrene tile in other words - the dance, drumming and movement group and the wonderful puppet man whose workshop I attended last Wednesday. We were each providing four workshops throughout the day. A total of sixteen workshops. Guess how many teachers attended these 16 workshops? Three. Read it and weep. Three. Three teachers, three classroom assistants and three children's outreach workers. We each had an average a two people per workshops. Not that I'm complaining. Worse for the participants in the dance/movement workshop. Would you like to leap about like a lunatic in the company of one other complete stranger? Well, maybe....but enough of your private life.

The puppet man, as before, was just magical. He had a black curtain over which the puppets appeared. I use the work puppet loosely. He put on a white glove, stuck a polystyrene ball on his index finger and had us totally entranced. That was one of this more complicated puppets. We laughed, gasped and sighed to the antics of a wooden spoon, a spatula, a feather duster and a carpet beater. It's just amazing the way you can read the personality of a plastic spatula by the way it walks down the street. This man is just incredible with a head full of knowledge. I want to do one of those cartoon brain transplant things with him. You know, a metal colander on each of our heads connected by some spiraling wire and arching electricity....I wish I knew half he has forgotten.

The press print lassie was making circular mandalas from square tiles and chucking the remnants in the bin! I dived in the bin after them, asking her permission to salvage her remains. Press print figures large in primary schools at the moment and is not a material I have come across before. I have plenty to play with now.

In my experience school janitors fall into one of two categories. Downright obstructive or passively hostile. Not today. The jannie was an old work college of mine from the dim and distant and could not have been more helpful. But not even he could magic up some heat. With the stringent employment laws being what they are I'm sure there would have been a below minimum temperature walkout under any other circumstances. We have a repeat performance next week when I'll be wearing every item of clothing I posses plus some I have borrowed. Trust me.


Gill said...

Sally, how tragic that such a superb workshop was so poorly attended. It happens here too. Don't know if it's because it's free (no commitment to turn up if you don't feel like it on the day) or if the working week is so traumatic that a Saturday off is an essential to survival.
Our people are now threatened with having to pay for their place if they don't show up having made a booking. Don't know if anyone has been charged yet - we are still playing to almost empty houses and we cancel as many workshops as we run.
Wish I could have come along!
Hope you've warmed up now, too!

MargaretR said...

I would have jumped at the chance of a workshop when I was teaching and attended many an after-school course. But I would not like to teach some of these children today.
As Gill said they may not be able to face working on a Saturday after a week at school.

Maggie H said...

I suspect most teachers know that there is no heating in schools if the children are not there. Unfortunately schools fall outside the rules on heating too. Such a shame though when we know how fantastic your work is. Remember to take an electic heater or two next time. that's what I do!

Textile Tales said...

Awonderful report of your day as usual.
Such a shame so few turned up.

Grumpy said...

Take a heater! Maggie, you're a genius!

Liz said...

Wonderful, entertaining account of your day, Sally! Hope more people come next time...