So I’ve been occupied these past few days with school stuff, particularly training s group of students for an action song competition that is going to be held in the middle of next week. It’s been fun, but really tiring, and these kids have so much energy to spare I keep wondering where they get all of it from. If I could only harness half of it, I would be twice as energetic as I am right now at all times.
Next week shall be the English Language Competition Carnival thingy, where all the contests (action songs, choral speaking, poetry recital, story telling, public speaking, etc.) shall be held in one whole day at one school in one fell swoop, so all of the training for all of the competitions are happening at the same time at the school right now, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to give my input in some of the things that are going on, namely action songs (where I am one of the teachers who is in charge), choral speaking and poetry recital.
While helping these kids doing these language-related performance-y things, I keep thinking back to when I was a kid. All the way from primary school until I finished secondary school, I was never involved in any of these things, even though I had a deep interest in English language related stuff and things. I remember back when I was in standard 4 or 5, I discovered that some of my friends were selected for the school choral speaking team (because they weren’t in class for long periods of time), and even though I had no idea what choral speaking was (and I remained clueless until I entered teacher training), I knew that it was English-related, and I had always wondered why I wasn’t selected to be a part of the team as well, because I was confident in my language proficiency, even at that early age. But of course, I chose to keep that confidence to myself and didn’t express that desire to get into the team to anyone at all, not even my friends.
I remember another instance in secondary school, when I was in Form 5 if I remember correctly. I discovered that my school had a debate team, as well as a drama team, and they went to competitions and things like that. I noticed because, again some of my classmates wouldn’t be in class and I would ask where they’d been and they’d say debate or drama practice. I was intensely jealous of them for being able to participate in such things, but, again, I kept that jealousy to myself and kept to my rugby.
I could only explore the stage performance side of myself in teacher training, since we had to do a lot of that as teacher trainees. We had to know how to create and be a part of choral speaking teams, create drama performances, recite poetry, present the topic of the week to the rest of the class, debate, even dance. That’s where I learned that I liked being on stage and was willing to work on myself to make sure that I had what it took to be able to carry myself on stage to deliver a performance. I took initiatives to put myself out there. I auditioned for plays, I volunteered to sing and dance, I entered TESOL Idol and stuff like that. I now notice that I pursued those things. Where in school I was never given any opportunities, I created opportunities for myself to be on stage and perform at the institute.
Now that I think back to my time at school, I had to create opportunities for myself to be on stage as well. When the school had a dinner thing going on, my band friends and I auditioned and got the gig. When there was a karaoke competition in school for Teacher’s Day, I entered the competition and did a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai duet with my chemistry teacher (we even won that one, to our surprise). When I was told that a theatre club would be started at the school, I went to their practice sessions (I didn’t last long there since the timing clashed with rugby practice, so I dropped out of theatre club).
I had always had a tendency towards performance-related things, especially if they were in English, since I knew that I was somewhat proficient in it, but the opportunity to explore those interests never arose throughout my school years. My friend just now gave input into why that may have been the case: it was because I was so shy and never opened my mouth in class that made teachers doubt that I had it in me to be in front of a whole bunch of people and talk, let alone perform. That’s a very valid point, I think.
In retrospect, I may have lost out a little bit on performing and things in school because my potential never shone through bright enough for anyone to see, but I’m glad that no one eroded my interest in those things by scolding me or anything. It could have been the case where I was actually selected for choral speaking way back in primary school, but my interest in performing arts was completely crushed by a really bad comment or a bad experience that I wasn’t ready for that made me turn away from that world from that point on.
In the end, things happen the way they’re supposed to happen. We just have to go through those doors that are presented to us that get us closer to our goals, and if the doors don’t present themselves, build those doors yourself.