Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm Mrs. Standridge!

No, Randy and I did not renew our wedding vows, nor did I just wake up from a fit of amnesia. I am, however, a teacher. Check me out...

I remember being in grade school a million years ago and the names of my favorite teachers - Mrs. Swavely, Mrs. Rosenberg, Mrs. Williams (oh wait, she was NOT one of my favorite teachers. Anyway...). Now I am Mrs. Standridge. It's funny, I don't see an elementary school music teacher in the mirror, but it sure is fun to play the role.

Here are some highlights of my first week. You experienced teachers will roll your eyes at the things that seem exciting on your first week that become mundane after years or decades of teaching!

-> Sweet T who I know from church who said "I'm so excited" after my cooperating teacher introduced me as their student teacher. Other students clapped and said, "Yay" when I was announced - a responsive crowd, these guys.

-> Walking down the hall in my teacher outfit and saying to the children, "Walk, please," and "You're being so nice and quiet in the hall," and "Very nice manners, Georgeanne" (*all names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent!), and "Oh, Parker, you can walk in a straighter line than that..."

-> Getting my badge (modeled so elegantly above).

-> Picturing my adorable nephew K5 in the 1st grade class next year chanting, "Ta-ta-ti-ti-ta."

-> The ultimate highlight - Joe and the button factory.

My brother was not crazy about school growing up (he went on to get a PhD - go figure). He did not get very involved in music, although he tried some instruments on for size. (Note to parents - do NOT let your sons choose the cello or any bowed string instrument unless they really, REALLY want to play it.) There are a few things he remembers from music class. Two of these things are "Ta-ta-ti-ti-ta," which he taught my precious nephew as mentioned above, and,

"Hi. My name is Joe, and I work in a button factory. I have a wife, a dog, and a family. One day my boss said, "Hey Joe, are you busy?" I said "No." He said, "Turn the button with the right hand." By the end of this movement song the students are waving both arms, twisting both legs, turning their heads and wagging their tongues. Yesterday the kindergarten class met Joe. I was laughing so hard silently in the back that I cried. I seriously had to get a tissue. It struck me as SO funny. Here is the one thing my bro remembers from music class and 25 years or more later I'm sitting in the back of a classroom in my first 3 days of learning how to be a teacher and this is what they do in class.

I know you had to be there, but I was and it was hilarious! I thought I was going to expire. I had the best day yesterday. I should cling to that as my honeymoon period with teaching gradually tapers off. And sometimes it will, I'm certain.

Am I really a music teacher? This was the last thing I thought I'd ever be doing when I was an undergrad. I didn't even major in music at that time because I didn't want to be a teacher or a performer. Now I'm working on an advanced degree in Music Education. It's nuts.

In the afternoon I had a seminar back at UT. (No, I didn't make my peers call me Mrs. Standridge!) We taught what is the third thing my brother remembers from music class - the recorder. The recorder can actually sound pretty good when played by a pile of music majors in their final semester of college. The day before, I had a request from a young guitar student to learn "Yellow Submarine." I was so inspired, I arranged it for recorder in two parts. It was a hit! I must say, I really enjoyed hearing the arrangement. It was really fun and I received several compliments afterwards. There are 16 people in this seminar, and everybody arranged and taught a piece on recorder, because it is one instrument that we all have in common. After each person taught the groups was asked for positive feedback regarding the lesson.

Let me tell you that excellent music instruction is alive and well in Texas. I would have any one of these cats teach my children. Everybody had their own style and personality which came through in their teaching. I was so excited at one point I squeeked out a shrill pitch on my instrument. I barely even thought about what I was doing. I just went, "TOOT!" on the horn. If I didn't already have the thing in my mouth I might have shouted, "Yipee-yahoo!"

It was amazing to see the teaching, and so warm and wonderful to hear positive feedback from your peers, especially when the comments they gave are ones that you really worked to receive. Part of my M.O. is using humor in the classroom. It comes naturally to me and I love to get a laugh! What I had to work on, though, was using humor effectively without getting carried away and off-task from the lesson. I have a hard time focusing on the task at hand when people start laughing. (Do NOT give me a microphone or put me in front of a video camera or you'll see what I mean.) I admittedly crack myself up sometimes. It's so fun. One comment from my esteemed professor was that I used humor in my lesson without getting off-task. Yes!

My dear husband (DH) took me out to celebrate my fun day at McDonald's and the movie "Glory Road." I had a little fatigue meltdown at home before we were to go out, and he asked me what would make me feel better. Off to McDonald's we went! I typically go there to celebrate victories great and small. Randy said, "You deserve a break today."


Thelma said...

I love Joe! We used to do that in band! Why play instruments in band class if you can look like crazy people?

Debbie said...

Have you had any Orff training? It is something that really draws the kids into music. And yeah - they all love that "Hi, My Name is Joe." I teach in Florida - K - 6. Just had a strings program tonight with my 5th and 6th graders.