My biggest challenge yet – 150 Year 7’s, across all abilities, at Castle Rock High School in Coalville, Leics… I did wonder if I would be spreading myself too thinly when I took on this full day workshop. But having some wonderful staff to work with meant the youngsters were all able to fully participate in the school workshop as well as having some one to one time with me. I started off with presenting to a group of 50, in the drama studio, with the idea that I would do three talks to three groups of 50. However, this ran on into 45 minutes as I found myself faced with lots of enthusiastic children who were keen to ask questions! The teachers and I decided I would be fine mixing the next two groups together so I ended up with a lovely bunch of students – 100 in total – listening intently to my Powerpoint presentation.
After the presentations I whizzed from classroom to classroom looking at work, helping with some great interview techniques and making suggestions. In one classroom I was greeted enthusiastically by the teacher who said: “We’ve been waiting for you.” It turned out they had all written questions for me so I perched on the desk while some very well-thought out questions were fired at me! One of the things I had taught them was ‘don’t be afraid to ask awkward questions when you’re interviewing someone’. I was reminded of this by one of the students who asked me if my job affected my love life!!
After lunch I spent time marking some excellent articles and picking out ‘winners’ – no easy task with such a high standard of work. Back in the drama studio I gave them constructive criticism and read out some particularly good pieces of work. Then certificates were handed out to some great ‘junior journalists’ and we had a bit of time left for some more questions and answers.
I had a fantastic time at this school, everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic. The children were extremely well behaved and everyone tried hard. It wasn’t exactly a testimonial to what she’d learnt, but one girl said she’d had such a good time today because it was so different from everyday work!