What do you get when you cross fifteen teachers with Baz … ?

A trestle table with crumbs and splashes left over from ravenous teachers attacking the tea, coffee and biscuits. A, now empty, circle of chairs. A few handouts dusting the corners of the room.

Only minutes before the room was buzzing with chatter, individuals tapping out iambic pentameter, discussing the exercises and swapping contact numbers. And someone (me) raiding the very last of the biscuits.

The afternoon had been spent with fifteen teachers from across four South London secondary schools, working with us on our approaches to text. The teachers threw themselves into the session with gusto, and much giggling and chatter ensued. We worked on getting groups of students feeling comfortable and confident in the room, how to work through shortened attention spans and ways of approaching Shakespeare’s verse with students.

I reminded them how in our experience the best verse speakers we’ve ever met are teenagers. That’s what’s so exciting about working with students, there is so much potential there. And yes, of course all classes can get chaotic sometimes, but so what? A little anarchy is no bad thing!

‘It’s funny how hard that was. I didn’t realise it was so hard just to get used to being looked at. Sounds silly. I hadn’t realised. That must be how my students feel all the time.’

‘The rhythms of verse, it’s just like music. I understand that.’

‘When actors speak verse like that – that’s when magic happens.’

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