Whole School Integration

February 20, 2008

This year, for the first time ever (I think) Markham started the year with a Whole School Integration Day.  This involved ALL staff (both teaching and support, including the headmaster and the director of the school) from all 3 sections of the school (Early Years, Lower school and Upper School) appearing shyly, onto the school field at 9am and blinking foolishly at the 5 large, brightly coloured canopies, PA system and band that had appeared as if by magic overnight.  We were then handed t-shirts bearing our team colours and name.  You could spot the reluctants and cynics by the speed with which they donned (or didn’t!) their t-shirts!

 The teams were based on the 5 core values of the school; Respect for oneself and for others, Honesty, Loyalty, Generosity and Tolerance.  I was in the green team – generosity.  The task, we were informed, was to be the ‘Superhero challenge’!  Within the shade of our canopy we found; cold drinks, a load of random materials, cardboard, wire etc, and most importantly further instructions written in Spanish and English.  Harry Hildebrand (the former head of Science and one of the most natural and enthusiastic leaders I’ve ever seen) was instantly and unanimously voted group leader and began to explain the task.

With the help of some professional puppeteers and musicians (that the company runing the day had brought along) we were to write a short (8 min) musical about our superhero.  He/she/it had to be the embodiment of the quality we represented – in our case generosity – and we had to come up with a story, who they were, how they became a superhero, what their superpowers were etc. We thought we had a slight advantage as the head of upper school music was in our group!

 If you had told me 2 weeks ago that I was going to spend this morning helping to write a musical about a green, flying, generous superhero dolphin named Robin, I’m not entirely sure I’d have believed you!  Imagine if you will…

 THE SHOW OPENS [Star Wars Theme tune]

PROLOGUE [in song, to a tune I don’t know]

Robin the dolphin, was just a normal dolphin.  When he was young he never shared with anyone.  Then he grew up, he swam into some toxic waste.  Then he transformed, he grew wings and went to save the world…

Robin the dolphin, superheroe generoso.  Robin the dolphin, will share with you at anytime

Robin the dolphin, has super-echolocation.  If you need something, he knows just where to find you…

Robin our friend, superheroe generoso.  Robin the dolphin, generous with everyone.

SCENE 1 – A LOVELY CALM OCEAN YEARS AGO [backing music ‘under the sea’ from the little Mermaid] (at this point I’m going to improvise slightly as I don’t have the script, but I’ll include the main things…)

Robin [a giant dolphin puppet] is swimming in the sea catching fish.  His dolphin friends come, but he won’t share the fish at all.  He becomes unhappy and alone. He sees a sailing boat in the distance full of happy sailors and can’t understand why they are so happy.

[THUNDER, WAVES, WIND AND GENERAL STORM NOISES…]  During the fierce storm the boat is damged and there is a spill of toxic, possibly radioactive waste, which surrounds Robin and starts to kill him.  The sailors in the boat, selflessly generous to a man, jump into the sea and rescue him at the cost of their own lives.  [STAR WARS THEME TUNE]This inspires Robin to become a better dolphin.  He then realises that the toxic waste has turned him green and given him super powers (including super surfing ability)

MUSIC – Surfin’ USA

If everybody had a river, across the jungle zone,  then everybody’d be surfin’ like Amazonia, You see them wearing their baggies, Huanachi sandals too, A bushy bushy black hairdo, surfin’ Amazon!


As he is swimming about Robin finds a message in a bottle and reads it…

MUSIC – ‘Message in a bottle’ The Police;

Mining Company, Ruining our forest.  Another hungry day, all our food depleted.  No money for schools, if only they would share. Please rescue me, before I fall into despair.  I’ll send an SOS to the world x 2  I hope that Robin gets my.. x2  Message in a bottle x2


Robbie responds to the message, using his new wings he flies through the jungle to save the day

MUSIC – In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the dolphin flies above.  In the jungle the mighty jungle the dolphin spreads his love.  ahh Oooooh  etc.


Robbin, using his super hero persuasion, convinces the mining corporation to clean up its act and even put some of its profits into building schools for the local communities.

MUSIC – Give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to them, Give a little bit, give a little bit of your profits to them.  Clean up your pollution, and build some schools, help their futures.  Give a little bit etc.

 MUSIC – Robin the dolphin reprise


I’m sure you all agree it was a masterpiece…  🙂  Was fun though and I got to meet loads of people and listen to a lot of Spanish that I didn’t fully understand!(if people noticed I was struggling to understand they would appologise and switch to English which was great and some of the conversations were very much half and half which was cool too)  It did show very clearly though the difference between the foreigners who had learned Spanish and those who hadn’t – I want to be in the former group as soon as possible! I’m still not entirely sure why the star wars theme appeared, maybe I’l never know…

For as much as it was fun, I did learn a lot I think, about the way the foreign and local staff interact, about the way the locals think, behave, express themselves etc. I reckon it’ll help a lot with my understanding of the culture here.

Must mention lunch for those of you who teach at SHTC.  Lunch was provided in the cafeteria.  For starter you had a choice of asparagus souflé or tuna causa (a traditional peruvian dish), then main was either chicken with rice and veg, beef with rice and veg, or pasta with veg and a creamy cheese sauce.  Pudding was ice cream or lúcuma (a type of fruit) mousse, and there was also chicha morada or passion fruit juice to drink.  I think you’ll agree, slightly nicher than the usual UK lunch on training days!

One of the really good things is that, although the staff officially came back today, the kids don’t start until a week on Monday, so we have a good week and a bit to sort ourselvs out for the start of term, loads of department time and plenty of opportunity to get hold of other staff as they are all in too!  Looking forward to getting stuck in now!


One comment

  1. As I read that, I couldn’t help thinking…
    ‘Sounds like Cally’s cup of tea…’

    ..And I am very jealous of the food 😦

    A weeks department time? slacker….

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