Work Experience with Christina, or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Public Transport

This week’s blog was written by Daniel Duma for us while he was in indentured servitude- uh- we mean- work experience! Please enjoy this charming post that he definitely wasn’t told to write at gunpoint.

So I’m in TY and the school tells us “Hey, you’ll miss school for three weeks due to Work Experience and midterms; make sure you have them planned or you’ll be here scrubbing out toilets! :D”. This is obviously saying that we better make connections with people soon if we don’t have them, which could be quite intimidating for those of us who are more socially awkward than others. Thankfully, I had joined DYT in June so I decided to ask Christina Matthews, our teacher, if I could join her on Work Experience. She allowed me to (and also manipulated me into writing this blog), so I present to you an account of the week of the 8th of January to the 12th of January, 2016 and my Work Experience in drama teaching.

Monday: Thankfully, I had a bit of rest on Monday for which I could do general prep for the next four days. I started thinking about how I could do something for the annual #DroicheadLove social media campaign. I created my Twitter account because emailing the photos and text every day to the official DYT account seemed like too much hassle. While I didn’t have much success thinking about what might be the next great social hit, it flashed in my head when I saw two smiley figures sold for 50c each in Hallmark. The idea was simple: create a little love story around these yellow people, named Adam and Lilith. The only problem was that the idea struck me after I bought only one of them, so I had to send my mum the next day to find out if a second one was left or if I had to learn Photoshop in a few days. Quite fortunately, there was a second one left. I was also alerted to the presence of the Bord Gáis Student Theatre Critique Awards (a more verbose title could not be possible, apparently) and decided to extend my review of the recent showing “The Poor Little Boy With No Arms” into a full-blown piece by the middle of the week. Most of this day is what might be registered as the dreaded admin, but I got through in the end to Tuesday……

Tuesday: The advice that I had gotten the previous week had been successful, which made going by bus far less traumatic than it could have been. I was worried that I would have to make my way back to the first roundabout when I was assured by the “Seatown Roundabout” sign greeting me when I got off. One bridge and community school later and I was at the right place! The work was a lot more sitty-downy-talky than I had expected. At first we had a bit of the traditional “goss”, with everyone there telling each other what they had done that week. When we got into the meat of the double class, we were actually discussing a story, namely “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. While talking about writing new parts into the script, we ended up coming up with ideas as to how to make fun of the staff, all of which was reliant on inside joke I had no clue about. Still, I laughed along because what else could I do? I very much approved of the 10-to-1 schedule since I had things to do when I got back, like making more pictures for #DroicheadLove and finishing the “No Arms” critique earlier than anticipated. Overall, I made progress in a single day, which is rather unusual for me, being the lazy type and/or in TY. The next day was slightly different.

Wednesday: I didn’t have the best start on Wednesday, being honest. Getting on the 101, the driver sped past my stop at Woodie’s and went all the way up to the roundabout by Pavilion’s. I certainly got a fair bit of exercise running back, trying to be on time. Unfortunately, I was only greeted with more exercise when I found out I was going into a dance class. Cheerleading, specifically. The highlight of the day was getting to actually use pompoms without anyone saying a thing (not to mention finding out how they actually work…) I got an introduction to most of the staff at the labelled Prosper Fingal, which frankly wasn’t much use to me since I wouldn’t be coming back for the rest of the week, but they were all quite nice and open to having amateurs working among qualified teachers. On to Thursday we go, then.

Thursday: Today involved moving by train, which was slightly better than guessing whether the Magic Bus was going to completely drive by my stop. I got off at Portmarnock, finding myself walking… and walking… and walking some more until I had no idea what I was looking. One ask later and I find that I need to walk some more, rather unbelievably to quite a well-hidden place near the primary school and church. To my expectation, this was a hip-hop class, i.e the same as cheerleading. Here I got to see the adorableness of the students in full: we had a couple among us! (What? You want to know who? That’s not for me to tell you, nosey…). It was to be expected, what with Valentine’s drawing near, but it was so cute!! You had to see it to believe it, though. There weren’t any especially new dances, as far as I could tell, but we did do almost all the ones done yesterday. Since Prosper Portmarnock is more centred on caring for individual needs, there wasn’t any hanging around with the staff at break today. After not doing #DroicheadLove things on Wednesday, I ended up taking all the photos on my crap phone (which did have good lighting backing it up) in a rush to have it ready for tomorrow, or at the very least, by Valentine’s. Finally, we move to Friday.

Friday: Friday is easily the toughest day of the week that I did. First of all, I have to rely on buses again, which is something I would never do if given the choice. After being told to go find the unmarked orange building in The Mall, I get lost (and misdirected) for 10 minutes… That is, until I realise the building was orange until today, as the painters who originally misguided me were painting the centre I was supposed to go to white! I met a mostly new group today, with a few exceptions. The new dance routine of the session was “All About That Bass”, which has annoyingly now dug itself into my brain to a point where the best I can do is ignore it. I then had to walk to the other side of Swords into a much smaller class. It was also more relaxed, starting with a tea break, of all things. We were editing clips taken during previous workshops, all of which were for a film we would hopefully make. This led to going back to the orange-but-suddenly-not building to do a hybrid class and leaving Swords to come back to the beloved DYT (YAY!). While I had some time to myself so I could eat lunch, I had to immediately drive off to Barlow House, the location for today’s lessons. I thought I only had one lesson to brave there; as soon as I was alerted to the existence of a second one, cue falling flat onto the floor in tiredness. In what was a magical save, though, I found out that there was a play on! It seemed appropriate to end a drama work experience week with seeing a play, namely “Small Plastic Wars”, a one-man act by Paul McGrath. While it failed to live up to the expectation of quality set up by One Duck in the “No Arms” production, it was certainly theatre. At least, I’m told it was…

I would heartily recommend doing Work Experience with Christina if you can. While it can all be a bit messy (especially if you end up having to write grant applications/translate them from Greek, which I managed to avoid), it’s messy in the best kind of way. Ta-ra!