Tales from a teacher: The Nativity Play.

Whatever your feelings about Christmas -stress, excitement , dread, happiness, festive -don’t you just love a school Nativity play?

It’s just that time in the school year as a parent, when you HAVE to be there. You can’t beat seeing your little child all dressed up in a homemade costume (or one from a high street supermarket!), singing their little hearts out or pulling funny faces. There is always that moment when something goes wrong that makes the whole performance worth you missing that important meeting for! So let me share with you some of the more notable moments in my 25 year Early years teaching career…..

Special Elf Trousers

Believe me, teachers take children to the loo before performances because you just know that there will be a toilet epidemic when one child mentions the toilet, especially when they are in tights! Tights and doing a stand up wee DO NOT WORK! One notable performance when all the Reception aged boys were dressed as elves, springs to mind. Firstly, some boys of 4 and 5 do not want to wear tights (I’m ignoring all gender equality comments at this point!) so we had to call them, ‘special elf trousers’, and as they were red tights we thought we would get away with it…..

When all the boys were changed, one child needed the toilet. “Ok, let’s go to the toilet but it may be tricky with your tights so let me help you.” Oh….🤦🏼‍♀️

My TA (teachers assistant) looks at me and says’ “You mean the special elf trousers….”

Well, one boy twigs. “You mean, I am wearing tights, like girls?” 😳 All the girls start to giggle.

“No, no, no! I’ve told you they are special elf trousers!”

Cue annoyingly late mum -“Sorry I’m late! I’ve brought in Ollie’s tights…..” 🤫

Well we had very, very grumpy elves in tights that year all standing with arms crossed refusing to join in! 🤣

It’s an Angel!

In one school I worked in, the priest would come to the Nativity play to watch. Afterwards, he would address the audience and say a little speech about how amazing the children were and what an important message they were sharing at Christmas time. That year, I had a tough Reception class; 30 of them with 22 of them being very boisterous and loud boys.

The kings were bringing their gifts when suddenly Kevin shouts out, “That man goes to my church!” at the top of his voice in the middle of the quiet, stable scene when the baby Jesus was being brought in.

Mary (a year 2 girl and Kevin’s sister)  turns around and shouts back, “Of course he does Kevin, you bugger, that’s Father Priest (name not included!)” and then calmly lays Jesus in the manager. Their mum slowly sank down in her chair…..

I’m trying to get To Kevin when another Reception boy who I don’t think had ever taken notice of Father Priest or maybe didn’t recognise him in his white robe shouts, “No! That’s a real angel!”

Cue gasps from the rest of my class. Could it be a real angel? 🤔

Father Priest just stood up in his white robes and bowed! I think Kevin’s mum started the applause!

Best moment ever!

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Nativity scene

But that’s MY baby!

Every year in schools there is always a kind child that will bring in their dolly from home to be baby Jesus. The doll is lovingly wrapped in cloth and it is that child’s responsibility to remember to bring the doll to school for rehearsals. Now obviously the child loves their doll and can get a little possessive with it but usually with lots of praise, will allow Mary to carry the doll and have it on the stage.

I just knew that I should not have asked Beth to provide her doll!

During the singing of Away in a Manger, the doll is proudly brought in by Joseph and given to Mary. I smile at Beth and give her the thumbs up but she looks very upset. Oh no! I can see what’s coming but hope Beth can pull through. She starts to squirm and I can see her getting up from her seat but I’m at the other end of the row and I can’t reach her. She goes straight to the Manger, grabs her doll and walks back to her seat.

Of course, Mary gets up and goes to take it back and a fight starts! They are pulling at this doll when it’s head comes rolling off and rolls off the stage!

Beth shouts, “That’s my baby!”

Mary says, “It’s Jesus so it’s mine!”

Joseph stands there and shrugs.

The audience are crying with laughter which makes things so much worse because Joseph is a very sensitive chap and he thinks they are laughing AT him. He also hates noise and has his ear defenders on to help him so he can’t hear me. He starts to get a bit anxious. His TA has spotted it too. Will we be able to calm everyone down? Will Joseph have a melt down?

Do you know? This is one of my most proudest moments for Joseph. He calmly went and retrieved the baby and gave the head to Mary, wrapping it back in a shawl. The body he gave to Beth. No words were needed. And the play resumed. Even though Joseph had many needs, he was the kindest boy and he got the biggest clap at the end. His TA and I both had a tear in our eyes.

I have more stories but those are my favourite three. I hope you enjoyed them!

Do you have any funny Nativity stories?

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