I’m sure what you meant to say in that email critiquing my repertoire choices was thank you…

Dear sisters,

Today, my music teacher colleague and I ran six back-to-back rehearsals with about 50 kids in each group. We listened to fifth-grade narrators practice over recess. We inhaled our lunches to the sound of Feliz Navidad on xylophones. Then, we ran an all-school rehearsal for over 300 young musicians.

That’s crazy, right? Is this really what I signed up for?

Tomorrow, we’ll unload five bass xylophones over at the middle school auditorium, make sure the stage is set, and wait for the school buses to arrive carrying those 300+ musicians. They’ll pour out into the auditorium as it simultaneously fills with hundreds of parents, eager to catch a glimpse of their little snowflake, who’s all dolled up in their “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes.

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This colleague and I, we already did this once. Last week. Same story, different students. That’s crazy, too, right?

The other 170-odd days of the school year, I am alone in my little classroom on the prairie. The principal crosses my threshold once in a great while, and parents far less frequently. Teachers rarely have more than a minute to spend in my music room, because, as we all well know, those copies aren’t going to make themselves.

How do I reconcile these two sides of what I do? Nearly 200 days of music-making, unseen by outside eyes, just me and my students and my little classroom… and this one day of enormous production, preparation, stress. The learning really lives in the hidden days, but my reputation as a music teacher waits for me on that stage.

The show must go on,

Abby

Another Blog Post from a Teacher on Summer Break

Hey sisters,

So, we’re all teachers on summer break, to some extent at least, right?

R&R&R: Growing in intensity from June to August.

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I could write a post where I do the math, working out how many hours I work during the year and whether that balances out time off during the summer.

I could write a post about the fact that I don’t actually get paid during the summer, that the district withholds a portion of my salary and then returns it to me in the summer. I could explain that I got a lump repayment in June and won’t see a paycheck again until a month after school starts.

I could tell you that I’m still working this summer, that I’ve already taught at a two-week music camp and will soon be teaching at a two-week theatre camp, while also enrolled in two grad classes.

I’m not going to write that post. I mean, here’s one, if that’s what you’re looking for.

But instead, I’ll just say this. Do I get summers off?

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And you know, what? It’s pretty great. Today, I slept until 8:00 and then went out for coffee. I’m binge watching Law and Order.

And if you’re jealous, maybe you should be a teacher.

😎😎😎 #maybe #maybenot #letsjustsaytheydo

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Livin’ the dream,

Abby

 

Hot Cross Buns

Hey sisters,

Did you learn to play the recorder in elementary school?

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As an elementary music teacher, I am tasked with the job of preparing my students to be active participants in music for the rest of their lives. My goal (stolen from the amazing Dr. John Feierabend) is to make them tuneful, beatful, and artful. I am also responsible for preparing them to be successful in middle school music, whether they choose band, choir, or orchestra. Though it pains me to say so, there is one instrument that really drives all of these concepts home…

THE SOPRANO RECORDER.

It’s a brilliant educational tool- a historical woodwind instrument is affordable, durable, and able to reinforce articulation, rhythm and note reading, breath support, and practice habits.

But have you ever listened to 25 beginning recorder players? (Sara, I imagine you listen to significantly more new violinists, which must be a very similar experience.)

I think teaching the soprano recorder is like eating your vegetables or paying the bills… it’s not always enjoyable, but it’s important. I just hope my ears will forgive me.

One a penny, two a penny,

Abby