Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Cavalry!

Music educators to the rescue!

I returned last night from the Texas Music Educator's Association conference in San Antonio. Upon getting there the first day I was wounded, now I just have a slight limp. Several things happened.

One, I was surrounded by music educators, and I knew without a doubt that many would have had a similar first experience as I did. I was on the phone leaving a message for a colleague and I said that I would tell her later about my nightmare teaching experience. A woman on the escalator in front of me turned around and gave me a very sympathetic look and patted me on the shoulder. When I told her the grade level was middle school she winced and looked even more sympathetic.

Second, I went to several sessions about how to incorporate middle school boys' voices into the choir. Part of my problem with the student I had to send to the office is that he is a good musician and doesn't get the chance to use his talent because there are only three boys in the group. If this kid is not singing he will be causing trouble. If I can get them singing more there will be fewer problems. Instead of having them all sing the same part, which they cannot do at this level, I need to determine their individual ranges and select parts for each to sing accordingly.

Third, I talked to my university supervisor and we both came to the conclusion that I should not have been in the place where I was in charge of the class and the only adult in the room. My instinct was that I shouldn't have agreed to babysit, I mean substitute, especially this difficult class, and I should have gone with my gut on that one. I was trying to help my teacher out so she could have a break from this challenging class. My supervisor was surprised that a school district like this filled with students from their backgrounds would be so difficult. After I sent the one kid to the office the other kids, probably subconsciously, decided to test my resolve even further. She suggested that I pull this student aside before class on Tuesday and reiterate that his behavior was inappropriate but that I think he is a great musician and that I enjoy having him in the class (which is stretching it at this point, but maybe by Tuesday...)

Fourth, my choral supervisor's daughter is in the class and said that she was so furious at some of the students that she wanted to kill them. This student is diligent, quiet, and sweet, and agreed that some of the students were out of control.

Time to drop this, I've had enough. It's over and Tuesday is a new day. Breathe, in and out. (Do I really want to be a parent? Our child will turn into one of these teenager beasts some day. But, you can count on me never to say to a childless woman, "You can have mine..."

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