Hey, general music education people! What type of session topic should I look into presenting at the next state convention? What need do you have in your classroom that you wish there was a session on? Classroom management? Curriculum? Ideas and props? Incorporating children’s literature? (I have some ideas kicking around already… But I want to hear from you!)
I presented a session at the past state music education convention, and I think it was a success… There apparently was a need for a session on how to engage fourth and fifth grade boys in the general music classroom… ;-) I am thinking of presenting again, but I’d like some direction…
So, what type of session would YOU go to at your state convention? What topic do you think needs to be addressed? What would YOU like to take away from a session?
The following was true all week (which happens to be the week before Spring Break in my school district):
- If a student is going to be leaving school a day early to go to Florida/Jamaica/(insert name of Anywhere Else), that student is going to make sure they tell you where they’re going at least four times during the thirty-minute class.
- The same student is also going to get some dirty looks from those of us who are not going anywhere.
- I brought home all of my teacher editions so that I can get some work done over break. And I say “work” with the best of intentions, of course.
- I took extra helpings of the delicious leftover pasta salad at lunch today, because it was, uh, going to go to waste unless I did… You know, with us being gone for the next ten days or whatever…
- I skipped the extra pizza because that would have been my fourth pizza meal in five days.
- My best teaching in every class today included 50% musical activities (singing, moving, playing instruments, etc., depending on the grade level), and 50% Stomp LIVE! on DVD. And I think we were all happy when the DVD came on.
- I gave extra hard hugs to some of those kiddos whose home lives are not as stellar as they should be. I hope the next week is okay for them, and I will welcome them back with more hugs after break is over.
- Girl Scout cookie orders finally stopped rolling into my room today (I usually buy one box from anyone who asks me)… And took only two boxes home. The other boxes are safe at school.
- I actually am entertaining the idea of going into my classroom next week to take care of stuff there… Isn’t it crazy that one of my ideas of relaxing involves going into my school building to work when there are no kids there?
- I set a deadline today for some school forms to be turned in to me. I did this so that I had some time over break to work on them… But also so that it was a definite, clear deadline for the students. Any forms that show up in my box when I get to school after break will promptly be filed in the recycling bin. (Read the fine print, kiddies! The sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be!)
Enjoy the coming days, everyone, whether you’re on spring break or not!
My 6-year old son’s favorite song right now is Two Door Cinema Club’s “What You Know.” After stretches of time with him requesting Foster the People, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Muse (all fine bands, don’t get me wrong!), I am glad he’s on to some TDCC. He also is partial to the re-mix of “Undercover Martyn” that’s on the iTunes version of “Tourist History.”
My year-long crusade has finally paid off…. 1200+ plays later. ;-)
I have a “floating planning day” tomorrow, which means I will still be in my classroom/on site all day (while the students are around) but I am not teaching. I have a guest teacher (haha, I misspelled “teacher” momentarily and autocorrect fixed it to “watcher.” “Guest watcher.” Awesome.) who will be teaching my classes while I’m there.
So the dilemma is (and keep in mind, it’s not really a dilemma. I’m just being silly.): What should I wear tomorrow? People will still see me, so should I maintain some decorum, or allow myself to be comfortable (because I do plan on moving things around on recess breaks)?
(And rest assured, any outfit I choose will end up in a pair of Converse sneakers, so there’s THAT.)
At my choir/percussion concert tonight, the kids managed to bring their A games. We did not have a good dress rehearsal during the day, and I suppose the adage is true (a bad dress rehearsal usually guarantees a good performance)… But there was definite worry in my heart about tonight. We hadn’t really gotten through the whole repertoire with all of the parts together. We simply ran out of time in the preparation process. Twenty minutes of rehearsal a week? Hard. But obviously we were making something work!
The kids were proud of themselves, especially since they were the only group of elementary students performing tonight. It was also great to have the sixth graders there, and it was fun to see a lot of my old students again.
What did I learn about this process? Let me think about that some more… Time for relaxing now!
Tomorrow is going to be HARD…. After teaching ten classes tomorrow, I have to be on my A game for tomorrow night’s concert with my choir and percussion kids (91 elementary schoolers? Yeeeeeauhhhhhhh!) and the middle school kids. I’m essentially going to have to be responsible for thirteen straight hours.
So why am I up? Great weekend. Summery weekend, complete with chalk drawings, ice cream, date night with husband, and FANTASTIC live music (thanks to the Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys for their contributions)… We also bought a car. Haha, no big deal. ;-) But there was so much to do this weekend, we sort of pushed lots of other things aside, and so now I’m just trying to relax a bit and attend to some quieter things. Like checking my e-mail, and making cake suggestions for my son’s birthday party this weekend, and reading up on what I missed at Wondercon (haha). Time for me to be mindless and selfish, and I’m enjoying it immensely.
Of course, tomorrow is going to suck, but only for the first ten minutes I’m awake. Because after that, I will have had my coffee, kissed my family, and made a promise to myself that (despite my exhaustion), I’m going to have the best day ever.
I cried in front of a class today. Not because of anything THEY did, but because of all of the overwhelming things that are going on in my life right now that I cannot control… In my twelve years of teaching, I have never done that before, because I always wanted to maintain that separation between ME and THEM. I can share my feelings with my students, but only to an extent. I don’t cry. I am capable of holding things together. I do not have to show my weaknesses to anyone. I DON’T CRY.
But today, I did.
And you know what? It was fine. Luckily, the class I had at that time is full of students I’ve had since first grade. They know me, and once I told them why I was having such a bad day, they listened. And then they managed to coax me back into teacher mode. They reminded me that I had a job to do. They let me be human for a second… They let me be a daughter and a mother and a person for that little bit of time that I needed, and then when I was able to continue, they let me become a teacher again. We created, we sang, we danced, we laughed. There was definite healing going on.
Another reason why I need my students as much as they might need me.
This is the entrance song of the week in my classroom, folks. From the new White Rabbits album (Milk Famous) is this song that simply demands more than one listen a day. I play it for all my classes as the students file in and take their spots on the floor, but every class has some kiddos that just have to rock out to it before they sit down. And I totally let them.
This group is amazing, and I totally recommend this album… One of the members of the group is the brother of a very good friend of mine, and that’s how I first learned about the band. But all of their stuff is FANTASTIC, and that’s why I’m still listening.
Had a former student recognize me in a store today. Whenever I go shopping, I try not to go in my district because, well, I don’t really want that noise. ;-) (Come on, you know YOU would peek into the cart, right? I totally would.) So today, I stayed in the town that I live in instead of driving 25 miles south to the stores around my school. Thought I’d be relatively anonymous.
This time was different. This girl just recently transferred out of my school so she could attend a school in the district where her father is the superintendent. The family had been simply making it work with commutes and whatnot during this entire school year, but it was pretty hard… And now they’re all together, which is great. But we miss our little A, too.
I actually saw her first. She was holding hands with her mother. I waved. She paused, and suddenly SCREAMED my name across the aisles. There was a little bit of confusion, because the mother thought I was another specialist at the school and not the music teacher, but A knew. She dropped her mom’s hand and ran right over.
A is a pretty special little lady. She was the kind of kid who always had the most amazing compliment for you, even though she gave it during the most inappropriate times. For example, she interrupted me on many occasions during the two years I had her (usually RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of a lesson) simply to tell me that I had the best singing voice ever, and that I was the most amazing, musical woman she had EVER met. Gawwwwwwww. Thank you. She was sometimes too loud, too close, too giggly, but she was always sincere. Never unkind. All of us at school worked with her to help learn boundaries and protocol; for example, as a first grader, she had to ask permission if she wanted to hug someone. She was always very affectionate.
So today, when she ran over to me, I thought for sure she was going to tackle me. I’m not her teacher anymore, so maybe… But she stopped, thought it over, and then asked permission. OHMYGOODNESS, OF COURSE. *hug* She asked me what I was doing at that store; I told her I live in this city, so this is where I go sometimes… She told me that was terrific. TERRIFIC. *hug* She said that she misses me as her music teacher, and that her new music teacher is very nice, but she misses me and my classroom. *hug* (By the way, saying “yes” to a hug once guarantees that you’ll get at least five.)
A: “May I ask you a question?… How are the rest of my classmates doing in music?” I told her that they were all doing well, and with her permission, I would like to tell them hello from her.
A: “Of course you can do that. I miss them so much. And all of the adults, too. I miss them, too.” *hug* “And how is your family…?”
I honestly can’t remember the rest of our quick conversation… I was actually finishing up ordering a sandwich to bring home to my kids, and the sandwich artist had stopped and was watching the entire exchange. I do remember, though, waving again at both of her parents (by this time, her father came into view) and getting another hug from little A as she told me, “I miss you so much. I hope you have a great day tomorrow, and that you will sing so pretty and have so much fun. You are my favorite Mrs. B. ever and I love you so much.”
And I told her a variation of what I always told her whenever she would say these things to me: “I love you, too, and can’t wait to make music with you again.” (Sometimes when she would tell me she loved me during class, I would say to her: “I love you, too, and I can’t wait to teach you the next song, so you’ll have to go back to your spot now.”)
This encounter came at a part in my day where I needed a little boost. I was simply out and about to help cleanse my mind a little. My father is back in the hospital today, two thousand miles away, and I was a little melancholy all day. The sunshine was beautiful today, but I couldn’t help but worry. So I excused myself from home for a few hours and ran some errands… This was the last stop before I went home, and I really believe it happened for a reason.