Watching the kids in their school performances

Our Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) has general meetings every month. And while many of our parents sign up as members of the PTA, they have no desire to give up their precious time to come to meetings. That is where school performances come into play.

For every monthly meeting, we have a different grade level performing a musical number put on by our awesome musical teacher. (Not only does she teach music class and do the monthly grade level performance, but she puts on a major play each April that has tryouts in September and rehearsals throughout the school year.)

This November, it was the fourth grade’s turn to perform. Jase came bouncing home at the beginning of October right after the fifth graders had their performance. He would have a speaking part in the fourth-grade performance. This would mean morning rehearsals before school.

12208701_1069115753129181_8409310914466566209_nWell, of course, I told him he could do it, and he set about memorizing his lines. It was just two lines about Mount Rushmore. The fourth grade would be singing eight songs. If you were part of the chorus, all your rehearsals are during school time. But at the beginning and in between each song, there are lines setting the stage for the next song. This is where Jase comes in with his two lines.

The music teacher asked him to put some umph into his performance, and he did. He was the most enthusiastic student up there, and it caused a chuckle in the audience.

I am proud of him for taking on a speaking part which is something he has done for the past three performances. For a shy child who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, it is very much stepping out of his comfort zone, but it is all done by his choice. I never encourage him to try out. Heck, I don’t even know he tried out at school for a speaking part until he is already assigned one.

In addition to the fourth-grade performance, the PTA also uses fourth graders (or whatever grade is being featured) to do an inspirational moment. Last year, Jase and his friend Noah did the inspirational moment for third grade by reading a Shel Silverstein poem. This year, he was picked again along with a different boy named Noah and their friend Sarah.

IMG_0899OK, I will be honest here. The PTA vice president picks the students of current board members, and since I am Treasurer for the PTA, Jase was asked – again. Last year, he was just told to invite a friend. This year the VP picked two kids and then mentioned we should add a girl to the group. I know Sarah’s mom, and Sarah knows both Noah and Jase so it made sense to include her.

Picking an inspirational moment that was appropriate for students was the hard part. But we came up with a poem about being thankful (appropriate since Thanksgiving is this month).

The three kids did an awesome job. Again, I am proud of Jase for agreeing to do it. He never hesitates to help out even though I know he is like me and doesn’t want to speak in front of a crowd.

Now Lexie who is my usual out-going child is one that has not had a speaking part in a performance yet. We will just have to see now that she has watched her brother do it a few times if she wants to follow in his footsteps and try out this January for February’s second grade performance.


School performance: My shy child in front of all those parents

In January, my son came home and announced he wanted to try for a speaking part in the upcoming first-grade performance.

I nodded and then asked, “you know you will be performing in front of people?”

“Of course,” he replied, looking at me like that was the silliest question he had ever heard.

My mind instantly flashed back to last year’s kinder performance. All five kindergarten classes stood before their parents and sang songs of the rainbow. And there stood Jase looking like a deer caught in the headlights. He barely sang or did any of the accompanying hand/arm movements. He clearly had a case of stage fright and that was with everyone standing together on the stage.

This year’s performance will be a short program entitled “BUGZ.” I don’t know how many kids have speaking parts but Jase got the part of bug number 22 which is a firefly. Those who don’t have a speaking part will be part of the choir.

FireflyJase will be up there with three other fireflies and has two lines.

Rehearsals started three weeks ago, and the performance is next week. They will perform for the fifth graders in the morning and then for the parents in the evening.

I worry he will suffer stage fright again, or he will only speak in a whisper. He has never been a very loud kid, and he has always been shy around adults. He didn’t even speak to his preschool teacher until the last month of school. As he has gotten older, he has done better with talking to adults but often is shy in a group. And when he is nervous, he tends to stutter a little.

I know there will be other students who mess up or only whisper their lines, but I hope Jase doesn’t run into any of those problems. I hope he can deliver his lines with confidence and have a good experience because I know that these first experiences can make an impact on how he feels and how he does at future performances.

I am not comfortable speaking before a large group. I will not be the best one to give him advice, and I certainly don’t want to discourage him or transfer any of my fears onto him. In this case, I will probably have to let my husband do any pep talks on how to handle stage fright. As an attorney, he is used to speaking in front of judges and juries and often gives speeches at legal conferences.

So I will have to wait and see how Jase does next week. Right now, he is just excited about having a speaking part. No matter what happens, I will be proud of him.