Another brick in the wall

posted in: Teaching in Lesvos | 3
The noticeboard in Gekko Kids reception

I am not really intending to deliver a move by move account of each and every lesson.  On the other hand, there probably won’t be too many.  I am slightly underused at present, partly because there are other demands on the space – Drama alongside yoga is probably a no-no – but also because there are other demands on the students’ time.

This does also mean that I can stretch my repertoire of ideas suitable for students with very little English that much further.  My good friend Sue (aka wife #2) introduced me to the Dutch phrase “shaking it out of my sleeve”, meaning making it up as I go along, and there’s no question that my sleeve will be emptied soon enough.  A slightly slower pace, until we get to actual rehearsals, is fine.

Anyway, today’s lesson.  Mime again, and this time focused upon that good old Marceau favourite, the imaginary wall. It’s not that I am trying to train mime artists; it is more that such simple concepts are a way in to improvisation, something they can use to jump-start their own ideas.

Started today with just eight students.  That’s nice, I thought – a small, focused group.  I should have known: within ten minutes, another sixteen or so had joined us, stretching the capacity of the room to the limit.  So much for focus.

Some nice work, though.  In a simple exercise of finding different ways of getting from one side of the wall to the other, ideas included: using a bomb to blow it up, prising it apart brick by brick, and a spell to magic it away.  My favourite?  The boy who became a bull-fighter, tricking the (imaginary) bull into doing the job for him.

I ran into Magda, Gekko Kids headteacher, as I left, and she was most complimentary about the smiles on the students’ faces.  Which was cheering. To quote Melric the Magician, “Remember the power of laughter.”

3 Responses

  1. panos

    Loving your blogs Chris. Keep them coming! So pleased that you are able to make the kids smile and laugh.


    Good to see you have time to write these!
    Hope all is well?

  3. sue

    Well, Chris, I still think it is better to start with eight students and end up with 24 than to start with 24 and end up with eight!

    Great Job, I think sometimes working refugees, that it doesn’t really matter too much about the quality of the lesson, just that they have met a friendly person and been treated with respect. It might be the only positive interaction they have all day.

    Good Luck


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