It Takes a Village

I have two desks.  One is covered in a mess of papers and crumbs from my breakfast, while the other is a baby grand piano that holds stacks of sheet music for Chorus.  I am on my feet a good bit, but that doesn’t deter me from wearing high heels.  I have to plan carefully when I can go to the bathroom during the day and I have to scarf down my lunch in about twenty minutes’ time.  My day starts ridiculously early, so I run on lots of coffee.  I spend the vast majority of my day with teenagers as they are learning the ropes of discipline, and  I have found that there is something about teaching in a very large space that makes the students suddenly feel like gazelles on the open plains, and it is my job to redirect their boundless energy in to making beautiful music.

I teach high school chorus and I absolutely love it.

I am about to begin my ninth year of teaching music.  Every year is different with new challenges and new music.  I have been at my current school since December of 2007 where I am a part of an incredible department of fine arts teachers who are not just colleagues, but loyal friends.  I am also a part of an amazing community of music teachers across the county.  I am always amazed at what my neighboring music departments are accomplishing and I’m always learning from them.  What an honor it is to be a part of a group of teachers in a district that was recognized as one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants  multiple times.  One of the things I love to do most is to sit and discuss with my fellow music teachers what is going on in my classroom and how they do things in their classrooms.  These conversations are some of the best “professional development sessions” I can attend.  Unfortunately, the opportunities to sit and talk don’t arise as often as I would like.  Even with my colleagues on my hall, there is not nearly as much time as I would like to sit and talk about what’s working and what’s not working in our classrooms.

I love teaching.  I love music.  I also love writing.  I have been looking for the opportunity to combine these passions in to something that can be helpful to me as well as to others.  I want the chance to share some of my reflections on the good days as well as the bad days in my classroom.  I want to share my ideas and gain feedback from other professionals.  Maybe sometimes I want to vent about how crazy life is with a family and a full work schedule.  I want to make others laugh over the ridiculous shenanigans that go on in my classroom, and then I want to give another teacher a new idea that they can incorporate in their classroom.  And for the love of all that is good in this world, maybe this can be a place where we come up with sub plan ideas so that our music students can manage to work without us when we have to be away.  After all, it takes a village.  I am where I am today because of the music teachers I had growing up that shaped my life.  I still use some of their best rehearsal techniques and repertoire choices.  I often find solace in the encouraging words they gave to me over the years both as their student and now as a fellow teacher.

I am anxious to get my thoughts and ideas out in writing, and I am hoping they can be an encouragement to another person, whether they are also teaching behind a conductor’s stand, caring for little children at home, or working a job that at least allows them to leave the building to eat their lunch.