Joy in the Classroom

Week one of student teaching is almost complete!  And let me tell you, it is so good to finally be at my placement, doing what I’ve been studying to do.  There’s quite a bit that has happened in the past week or two!  

I am so glad to be back in Indiana.  Despite this wickedly harsh winter (cue: Frozen soundtrack!), I’m glad to be starting my very last semester as an undergrad. It’s finally happening: the beginning of my adult life!

There’s a lot of things that I could say about student teaching, but the one thing I’d like to record is this: I know I picked the right career for me.  It’s not an easy life path, that’s for sure.  It’s tiring and frustrating and political and germy and lots of other adjectives.  But most of all, for me, it is joyful.  I love teaching.  There’s nothing I’d rather be doing with my life.  I can think of nothing more fulfilling than giving children the gift of music in their lives.  

This week has been mostly observing and figuring out how things work at my student teaching placement, but I have taught dozens of lessons already and I am a pro at working the copy machine.  I’ll start working with the ensembles next week with warm-ups, then I’ll move into teaching pieces and more in-depth concepts.  I have now become grateful for how hard I’ve worked and how much teaching experience I’d had the past few years, because it’s making my life much easier now.  I’m completely fine with jumping right in to teach private or small group lessons.  For instance, I picked up a baritone for the first time ever on Tuesday morning, and hit the ground running with teaching and playing along a fifth grader.  

Also, this is not meant to sound arrogant at all, but these kids love me!  I am such a new entity for them, like an exotic bird they’ve never seen before.  They already revere me and ask me all sorts of interesting and weird questions.  It’s kind of fun being the center of attention.  I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!  And likewise, I love these kids back.  I absolutely love their energy.  You can’t do music without being a little energetic and passionate!  

Some highlights from the week: 

-My co-op teacher told one of the elementary bands that I’m in the military.  Not only did I get a lot of, “oh cool!” and “wowwww!” but a fourth grade boy came up to me after rehearsal and asked for my autograph.

-I got to play a pBone, which is a plastic trombone, if you didn’t know.  They’re very light and very easy to hold and play!  I love playing any low brass, but trombone is especially fun.  I sort of hated it when I played it in instrumental methods, but now that I’ve got the hang of it I really enjoy it.  I was playing this in elementary band, and my co-op introduced me to the class.  One of the bone players sitting next to me said, “yeah, she’s a trombone girl.”  That made me feel very accepted and happy!  It’s good to know I am officially a member of the low brass family.  

-I’m going to play piano for their spring musical!  I’ve played in numerous musicals on reed instruments, but that’s nothing like playing piano in a pit.  It’s going to be an incredible experience for me and so much fun!  I am honored that I get to do it.  It’ll be a ton of work but very redeeming.

-I’ve been playing a ridiculous amount of secondary instruments.  It’s so so so so fun.  Did I mention it’s fun?  All those semesters of playing secondary instruments for ensembles and private practicing is paying off in the best way possible.  I have several hours of lessons back to back daily, with a variety of instruments, and I’m having no trouble going from trumpet to clarinet to trombone to flute and back again all in the span of an hour or so.  

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I was sitting in my car on my first official day of student teaching when I took this!  I was so excited.  I’m still excited.  I’m so honored I get to be doing this.  

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I wore this today.  Can I just say that I love wearing teacher clothes?  I love being cute, comfy, and professional every day.  It’s just one of the many perks of being a teacher.

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In addition to student teaching, I’m taking a woodwind repair class, which is going to be the most relevant class to music education that I will ever take.  I learned how to take a clarinet apart on Monday.  Here you can see all the springs laid out!  It was kind of scary pulling apart an instrument but once I got the hang of it I enjoyed it.  It was quite relaxing and I like being handy with tools and such.  

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Another fun thing about student teaching is that I get to pack my lunch everyday.  I’m having such a good time coming up with lunchbox-savvy meals.  This is a delicious salad that has fresh basil, red wine and apple cider vinegar, grape tomatoes, and chick peas.  

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I made this for dinner tonight: grilled tilapia with spicy pineapple tomato relish.  It was quite tasty.

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Hot chocolate from Commonplace!  I went there for the first time this week with Jessica, one of my favorite people in Indiana!  We had a really nice time catching up after repair class.  I realized that while student teaching I’m going to have to make an effort to hang out with people because I never see any friends during the day anymore!  I’ll have to have quite a few more coffee dates in the future.

I guess that’s all for now!  Sorry if this post is a bit random and unorganized.  Having a ten hour work day, plus cooking dinner, working another hour or two from home, and getting ready for the next day will do that to a person!  The one thing I’m sad about is that I haven’t had much time to exercise.  I’m pretty beat by the time I get home in the evening, not to mention ridiculously hungry and not at all in the mood to put on my sneakers.  But, I’m just going to have to persevere and do the best I can, even if it only means working out two or three times a week now.  At least I do a lot of walking during the school day.  

Until next time!  Next post will probably be about how my first ensemble teaching goes.  🙂

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