Tis the season of Christmas productions

The season of goodwill and frivolity is upon us and before you can gobble down your first mince pie people are already whispering the word nativity. The Christmas performance is one of those things that teachers seem to be split on. Is it is a happy and worthwhile coming together or a total waste of time spent hand making 2000 fluffy sheep heads, full of stress, crying parents, children and often teachers. However, school at Christmas without a performance would be like the cracker without the bang or the sausage without the blanket. 

Making memorable moments

One of the best things about the Christmas nativity saga is that it often involves the youngest children in the school – sometimes exclusively. This brings rise to an endless list of potential mishaps, problems and forgotten lines. The ‘ahhh’ factor is key to the success of these performances and the children, often unintentionally, bring these moments by the bucketful. However sometimes things can go a little wrong. I had one memorable moment where a child decided that rather than keep his carrot nose on his face (of course there were snowman at the birth of Jesus) he had found a better place for it and decided to call to his brother in the audience ‘Look Arthur I’ve got an orange willy’. Thankfully even this drew an amused and cheery coo from the audience whilst I furiously waved at him to remove said appendage. 

We all have a part to play

Casting is perhaps one of the trickiest elements to these performances. The elves at QI recently shared some research that said children cast as Mary or Joseph tend to go on to be more successful in later life. This is rooted in the idea that they tend to be more confident and push themselves forward more – it could also be down to the fact their parents may be pushing a little too. Managing the response from parents can be a tricky one, especially if they have their own ambitions for their children’s futures. Often I have found parents are more concerned about casting than the kids but hey ho, I can see why they’d rather their child wasn’t playing the role of Tree 6.

As teachers, we must take on the roles of costume designer, choreographer, theatre director, script writer and a 101 other things during this little enterprise. Whilst at the same you have to still teach and negotiate with other year groups over rehearsal time on the stage. This alone can see people struck from Christmas card lists or not invited to Sharon’s Christmas drinks again.

We will work to ensure that come curtain raising night the kids are all rocking and ready to go, perfectly presented in the costumes that you remind yourself must be put in a safe place for next year. Everything is ready, Tina from the office is on lights and you’ve dragged in a member of the PTA to sort the music. 

So good luck faithful reader in your quest to perfect the art of the Christmas production. Good luck faithful reader in the quest to get glitter out of carpets. Good luck faithful reader in the creation of the smiles plastered firmly on your faces at the back of the hall, gesturing frantically at little Thomas to get his fingers out of his nose. 

Oh and if you want a real festive treat this year – check out The Flint Street Nativity. That is the true story of a teacher’s life during December.

About the author

Ben KingBen King is a Year 5 teacher and Reading lead in a West Sussex Primary. He currently co-hosts the HWRK Podcast and is a regular contributor to the HWRK magazine.

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