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 a note from the teacher to parents

by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

School Performance Etiquette: Not Just for Kids Anymore

Every year many schools put their theatrical and musical skills to the test by hosting performances by students for their friends and families. Teachers and other volunteers log in countless hours of work as producers, directors, and artists to help the long-awaited production come to life. Students practice singing, dancing, twirling, and flipping, all for the chance to make their admirers proud. However, after all of this preparation, there is one additional piece that must come together to make the performance a success for everyone- the audience.

All parents are familiar with the standing room only crowds that usually arrive with a special school night production. Families and friends miss dinner, arrive early, stand in the cold air, and wait for their chance a getting a good seat to see their favorite actor or actress to take center stage.

As with all grand events, all of the sitting, standing, jostling, and waiting can make for surly conditions. All too often these close encounters set up the audience to be less than accommodating for the hard-working members of the cast. Here are a few tips to be sure that audience etiquette remains at its best to ensure a positive performance for everyone on that special night:

Be prepared to wait

If you arrive earlier than the appointed time, you may have a better chance at getting a great seat, but you should be prepared to wait before being allowed to enter the school. If it’s chilly, make sure you are wearing layers of clothing to stay warm outside, but cooler inside, where the air can get stuffy. Try to be patient as you wait for the doors to open. Remember- the staff and students need time to get themselves prepared for the big night, just as you would for an event at your own home.

Save seats sparingly

Everyone has seen rows of school seating decorated with purses, sweaters, coats, and even shoes, just to hold empty seats for later arrivals. While this may seem like good “first come, first served policy, remember that there are many parents who are trying to get a glimpse of their little actor on stage, and reserving seats for a number of people who may be coming is not fair to everyone. Of course, if there are infirm or elderly relatives coming who may be later than expected, by all means, save seats for them. However, if you’re saving seats for extended family, friends, or classmates’ families, you may want to reconsider.

Take pictures carefully

As excited as children are to be part of a school production, many children are easily distracted as they are on stage. Try to avoid taking pictures during the middle of major scenes or performances, as the flash may distract students from their work. Also, be sure to restrict others’ view as little as possible while taking pictures; if you are filming the production with a personal video device, you may want to take a place off to one side so you can have an uninterrupted view during the whole show.

Be considerate of others

Almost all school performances have slips and slubs that make them darling to watch and make the audience laugh out loud. While those spontaneous bursts are the memorable moment’s everyone craves, other kinds of disruption from the audience are not.

Just as in any crowded place, it is often difficult to realize exactly how loud the audience is as a whole entity. Individual quiet conversations are often magnified by several hundred if there are many such talks going on. Unfortunately, the combined sound of so many well-intended, but distracting conversations can distract the performers and make it difficult for others in the audience to hear. The best thing to do is give your neighbor a quick wink or smile, and freely chat more after the event.

By following a few simple steps, this year’s school performances can be more fun and less anxiety-provoking than they traditionally are. As always, remember that the focus should be on all of the performers because they all have worked hard for you.

 

Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a B.A.in psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/06/music-band.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/06/music-band-150x150.jpgJennifer CummingsSchoolEducation and School  by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed. School Performance Etiquette: Not Just for Kids AnymoreEvery year many schools put their theatrical and musical skills to the test by hosting performances by students for their friends and families. Teachers and other volunteers log in countless hours of work as producers, directors, and artists to...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids