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Inside Teaching : October 2010
Inside Teaching | October 2010 SEE ME AFTERWARDS 52 SEE ME AFTERWARDS 52 There are some times when it’s obvious that your darling child – the apple of your eye – is, after all, pretty bloody average. When this blinding realisation occurs, it can come in a good or a bad way. Let’s start with the bad. If your child has spent years perfecting the art of tempering chocolate and is beaten on Junior Masterchef by some jumped-up, bright-eyed mini- monster whose parents are obviously win-at-all-costs control freaks... it’s bad. When your freakishly-talented child-prodigy athlete is tripped just before they have the chance to score that truly extraordinary goal that would put them in the ranks of a junior Maradona, Rooney or Beckham... it’s also bad. No. More than that. It’s infuriating! However, when you sit in the audience to watch a massed choir made up of students from some 40 public schools and, from where you are sitting, your kid’s face is a tiny blob no bigger than your little fingernail, and you finally understand that she is, after all, just one note in all the music that has ever been played since time began... that’s good. More than that. It’s exhilarating. Has there ever been a sound more thrilling to the human ear than hundreds of children singing together as one? I doubt it. Recently I was in the audience at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall for a presentation by ArtsNorth, New South Wales. Some 700 kids from public schools took the stage for a choral presentation. And, just to make it even harder for us, the proud parents, they all wore identical black t-shirts. It took us a while to find our daughter up there in the back row, but after some urgent semaphore we identified her. It was like finding one grain in a bowl of rice. We were, initially, disappointed. Why was she right up the back? It was the same bloody place she was last year! Why didn’t the kids have different-coloured t-shirts so you could at least tell what school they were from? She was barely visible between the taller girls. Why hadn’t someone thought to get her to stand down the front where everyone could see what a little star she is? And then they started to sing, and, just like watching a flurry of rice pelted at a celebration, it wasn’t about that single WENDY HARMER explains why it’s good to be one of the crowd. Anonymity is not ignominy