School Program Story by Maria Parenti-Baldey
New Zealand author and storyteller, Tanya Batt, had year 1 and 2 students wild with enthusiasm when she took centre-stage. Eyes were glued to her orange-field-of-flowers and trees landscape dress, ebbing beneath in a sea of tulle. ‘No matter where you go in the world, everybody has stories to share. Not everybody can read or write, but they can tell stories.’ That was how old stories survived from other cultures.
Batt performed a Native American story about Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle. Her wind and voice sound effects had students so captivated, that one asked how she did it. Batt pulled out her 1000-voice sim card from the back of her neck. ‘Whoooaaa.’ Then she said, ’Do you think that’s true?’ as students’ mouths stayed agape. ‘I made that one up.’
The world needed old stories as well as new stories. She performed her story, My Dad’s a Dragon Catcher. Kids scootched a little closer. They loved the idea that Toby’s dad might have a team of dragon catchers because it was a big night-time job. See her YouTube version.
Batt felt lucky to tell stories from other cultures that been around for a very long time. When she travelled the world people told her stories. She felt like it was being in service to the story because they weren't her stories. Being a good storyteller was not about talking but ‘being a good listener’. But most of her stories lived inside her because she often told stories and not read stories. She encouraged students, when it was story time, to be the story teller. Tell a story from the workshop, or about Princess Poo Tower — recycling horse poo into her compost or make one up.
Her passion for telling stories started 27 years ago, ‘as the world becomes increasingly more rationalized, mega -fied, screen -ified and compartmentalized the need for arts education is greater than ever.
The Batt website
Maria Parenti-Baldey, primary teacher, writer, amateur photographer and blogger. www.bigsisterblogs.com
Blogging Team 2017