I'm in an inner city high school and I've had some very rough times also.
Lately a young student teacher has turned me on to Improvisational drama.
The grade nine students (with whom I have the most problems) are eating it
up. They love the exercises, the warm-ups, the humour, the working on
stage. I love the circle format and their need tor focus in order to do
their best work. I havn't seen these kids to buy into anything else all
year. Their antics are finally acceptable (within reason) since goofiness
in this setting is ok. Plus they have to learn to share the space with
others. It's working. Peggy