Things that I have learnt from Puppet Making Workshops

During the last two week, I led my own puppet making workshop at the Compass Theatre, Ickenham and assisted in two puppet making workshops at a school in Islington for the Little Angel Theatre with Judith Hope, who I consider my workshop leader role model (She is amazing!)

Here’s a few things I’ve learnt:

  • As an adult you will always be asked to go to the toilet, you will also see all manner of scratched knees even though there’s not much you can do about it. Despite not being a teacher, you are treated on the same level.
  • The highest compliment a child can pay you is remembering your name when you’re not wearing a name tag
  • Remembering them months later is quite astounding
  • Some children will say they can’t do something before they’ve tried to do that thing
  • Always start it off and let them finish
  • No matter how many times you’ve explained something, at least one child would not have heard you
  • This child will present themselves when a majority are completing the task and you wonder what they’ve been doing all this time. Always.
  • Instead of telling a child not to do something, ask a child whether what they are doing is a good idea and they know not to do it. This tactic works surprisingly well, especially when I found a group who had made a monster completely out of scissors
  • You will recognise some teachers use Makaton (a simplified version of sign language) which completely justifies the amount of time you’ve watched Mr Tumble on Something Special
  • I need to learn Makaton
  • Don’t shout. Whisper
  • One of the teachers uses a maraca to get her pupils to be quiet and focus. This is the best thing and I want to buy Judith one
  • If your name is Joni and your colleague is called Judith, you will be either called Judith or become the amalgamation of Judy.
  • The stories that children come up with, especially when they have made Kings, Queens etc. are more exciting and double crossing than an episode of Game of Thrones
  • Time in classrooms obeys no laws – You think you’ll have to find some extra tasks for the children to do, then you sneeze and it’s almost the end of the day
  • If in doubt always ask them to tidy their desks – There will always be SOMETHING they can tidy up
  • You will be exhausted by the end of the day
  • The Little Angel Theatre does a huge amount educationally and it makes me proud to be apart of it
  • Seeing children playing with their puppets at the end of the day is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced
  • There is something so very special, imaginative and magical about how children design and make puppets, that I am usually in awe with their ideas and quite jealous it’s not something I can replicate.
  • I really like teaching children. I REALLY like it. So much so I’m re-evaluting a few career ideas
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