The value of Pantomime

26 Dec

I went to the pantomime the other week. To be honest, the last time I went was as a child, and I was not exactly looking forward to it. One of the students was so scared of the noise levels that he might encounter that he opted to stay at school and work instead. I couldn’t blame him! 

What I actually witnessed was magical. 

The school visits the pantomime every year. It was a schools performance, so I thought that would mean that the volume was adjusted accordingly and that the student we left behind could have come. Nope. 

We sat in the very highest tier, quite a distance from the stage. This didn’t deter the students. The scene that unfolded was magical, and nothing like I expected. We had several students with sound sensitivity, one with epilepsy, and I actually felt extremely responsible, there was such a group of children with a huge range of needs. I clutched the epilepsy medication hoping I wouldn’t need it. I looked at the seating layout, a nightmare if there were any issues. I decided to stop stressing and let things unfold. 

It was the usual cheesy performance style, with the usual scenes, that hadn’t changed in all the years that had passed since I was a child. ‘He’s behind you’ shouted the student sitting next to me. One behind, a very low level boy who is just adorable, was rolling about laughing and smiling. I looked down the line and all the faces were the same. Joy, laughter, shouting in all the right places, surprise, simply magical. It didn’t matter that we were miles away. It didn’t matter that the volume level was so loud even I was struggling with it. None of it mattered, because they were having a wonderful time.

I sat back and just watched. Some of these students had been before, some hadn’t. For many, this was probably the only opportunity they would get to see a pantomime. It made me realise how simple, yet important a small trip to the pantomime was for these children. 

Even in all the years I have been a special needs teacher, sometimes small little actions still surprise me with the magnitude of their effect, and importance in a few children’s lives. 

This was the the true magic of Christmas. 

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