Tidy Victory - In my new middle school classroom, I finally have four (cue gasp!) large bulletin boards to decorate. I've NEVER had bulletin boards to decorate - I had to hang posters with duct tape on painted cinder block walls, which usually only stayed up for a few months. So I made a trip to Joann's and found some cute fabrics on clearance, grabbed some borders at Office Depot and a staplin' I went. I am so excited to hang up some fun pictures and my sticker charts to help the kids with their practicing this year!
I will openly admit I really do enjoy my summer vacation as a teacher. I certainly do love being an orchestra teacher - I have terrific students, I present nine concerts throughout the year between the middle school and high school programs, and teaching orchestra is generally quite enjoyable. That being said, the summer break gives me an opportunity to switch gears and really spend some quality time with my family that I don't necessarily get during the school year. However, change can be good and for some reason, especially this year, I am really pumped to start teaching again.
<Two> New Students and Circumstances Keep Things Interesting - Even though I typically can have the same students for as many as eight years (starting them in 5th grade and continuing through the orchestra program until 12th grade), I still have new students enrolled in my orchestra program every year. The students' personas change, their relationships with each other and myself change as they mature and the overall energy of the class takes on a new face. It would be quite silly to expect or plan for the same ability level every year - that would be disastrous! My class as a whole is an ever evolving mass of emotions, feelings, opinions and understandings. Flexibility must be every present while maintaining some constants for stability. In short, there is never a dull moment. Ever. Except sometimes Mondays, those can be a little slow to start.
<Three> It's Nice to Be Around Adults Again - Even though I LOVE being with my family over the summer, constant contact with my own children for eight weeks can have it's drawbacks, too. I'm sure that many stay-at-home parents will understand, but all adults need to have adult interaction as well. That can be quite limited when spending the majority of your time with your almost UPKer and toddler. Talking about Thomas the Tank Engine. All. Day. Long. The first few days back to school, teachers love chatting and catching up on our lunch break. We want to hear about everyone's vacations, summer time adventures and what our plans are for this new school year. Thomas the Train talk in the faculty room is banned.
<Four> My Students Want To Be in My Class - I am fortunate enough to know that in my specialty field, my students WANT to be in my class (for the most part). My class is not required - it is an elective for students with previous experience (at the high school anyways). I even gave this speech to my students after several weeks of getting little to no effort from a few last year: "My feelings won't be hurt people, but if YOU do not want to be here, you do not have to sign up next year. I want you to WANT to be here - to play your instrument, to practice on your own, to rehearse together with us here everyday, to do your part and add your voice. Don't return because your friends are playing or because you think I'll give you a good grade. Be here because you want to be a part of something awesome." Only two students did not return, and both were due to huge scheduling conflicts that wouldn't allow orchestra in their schedule. I consider that a victory, and a strong response of commitment of the students to me and to each other. And that's just awesome.
<Five> It's What I Was Meant To Do - At the young age of five, I begged my mother to no end to sign me up for violin lessons. By the time middle school rolled around, I knew I wanted to teach others to play the violin, too. I mentioned in my blog biography about my brief desire to be a veterinarian, but truly I knew this was what I was supposed to do. I can't even fathom being in any other profession right now, although I SWEAR in a former life I was a race car driver (I kid). This is why I was put on this earth (besides being a wife and mom of course) - to teach a love for music. #OrchestraIsLife
Any other teachers out there excited for your return to the classroom?
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