“The D&D Club is the best thing at school for me. I look forward to it.”
The student who said this was talking to my colleague, Mr Marks, who has agreed to support and run the Dungeons & Dragons Club at the school I am about to leave. Evidently, these words were what persuaded him that, on top of all the other responsibilities we bear as teachers, keeping the club alive is worth it.
This is the second time I have moved on from a school and left a roleplaying games club running the in the background. The first group was independent enough to survive without a knowledgeable teacher to sponsor and support it. This club has a committed roleplayer as the supporter and for this I am hugely grateful.
Giving students – teenagers – a space to discover roleplaying games is priceless. Give them a D&D Starter Set and set them loose. They will amaze you. In many ways, I wish I could persuade every school across the country to adopt a roleplaying games club because it’s a great example of what happens when you give young people interesting problems to solve.
Roleplaying games build community and they attract the intellectual outliers, the social outcasts, and those who want to create interesting things. Generally, D&D is still fringe enough that there will always be students, teachers, and parents who don’t understand… and that’s a good thing. What happens is the fringe kids, the students who are curious, find a community and safe space.
What we’ve seen in recent weeks is an steady wave of growth. One by one, students are bringing their friends to join in the new creative, interesting, and exciting hobby they have discovered. Because the students can play what they want in their own way, the group has become deeply engaged.
We are watching students come out of their sense of isolation and enter into new friendships, create imaginary worlds and characters, and discover what they can learn about themselves when they allow their innate human imagination and the power of positive association to flourish.
I’m sad to be stepping away but I am honoured to be able to leave it in the hands of others who I know strongly desire to share their hobby.
Thanks to everyone who helped create this amazing club. Your gifts of D&D product, dice, and encouragement have made all the difference to these children.