The frustrating part…

I am particularly frustrated this afternoon with teaching.  I wish I taught at a school that made AYP.  Then maybe I could actually just focus on teaching music to the best of my ability.  At my school, we have not made AYP yet in the 5 years that I have been here.  This means that we are dangerously close to having the state come in and basically tell us what to do.  This scares me because one would assume that if your school isn’t passing the state standardized tests, that your arts programs would probably be one of the first things to go.

My concert is December 4, and I only have about 12 rehearsals left until the concert.  Why so few you ask?  Oh, that is because we have choir and band the same period, and we must share the kids.  That means that I only have 2 rehearsals per week (3 every other week).  Oh, and by the way, since we aren’t passing the state test in reading, I am supposed to be teaching reading strategies during my class.  Oh, and I have to have my students do writing assignments every 2 weeks as well!

I am sure many of us face these same challenges every day. I know that it is probably foolish to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. Maybe it is foolish of me to think that all I want to do is teach music! What frustrations are you facing?

Now the PS – I began this post directly after school today. Now, coming back to it some 4 hours later, after having spent a wonderful evening with my family, I have calmed down. These are still frustrating issues to me, though. I can deal with the paperwork and other tasks that I have to do daily that take up my time, but when I am in front of my class, I want to teach MUSICis it really going to be my responsibility now to teach reading and writing too? I hope that I am only part of a small number of music teachers facing this dilemma. Is there anyone else out there in the blogosphere being ask to teach something other than music during their classes??

Of course, on the other hand, it’s just a job

2 thoughts on “The frustrating part…

  1. Is there anything other than music I teach during choir rehearsals? Of course! And so do you!
    I am teaching long term and short term goals, being part of a team, listening skills, analysis, posture, work ethic, etc.

    I understand your frustration as would most music teachers. Today about half of my vocal jazz ensemble couldn’t make rehearsal because of other last minute meetings in the school. Of course, as with your band, these are the kids who join everything. They are great kids and should be applauded, but it is challenging.

    About the writing though, I believe it has had a positive impact on my choir rehearsals. I have the kids keep journals. But I use them to my advantage. For example, if I am working with the sopranos I have the others write in their journals. It keeps them quiet so I can really rehearse! I give them a topic or they have to comment on what they hear as I rehearse. It also provides a means of open communication. They can tell me about themselves, or if they are having social issues, etc. I collect the journals periodically and write back. The kids love journaling and look forward to reading my personal letters to them. In the journal they also write ear training exercises such as rhythmic dictation, interval recognition or one could do chords and inversions (you get the idea) It all really works for me.

    Hang in there……..because as you said, ‘it’s a job’!

  2. I, too, have found journaling to be an important part of class. The most important aspects from the teacher’s perspective are (1) only use writing task that are authentic, i.e. directly and obviously related to your students and their daily activity in Band, (2) get help from your English department in the form of terms and procedures used in English class with which your students are already familar, and (3) give your students lots of support, including lots of material posted on the Band room wall to help your students organize their thoughts in a lucid way and to recall the necessary music terminology.

    I like Sfrack’s suggestion of having students write while the director works with other sections. I am always looking for ways to get students to use their down time during rehearsal in a productive way. Plus, it means you never have to stop in the middle of an energetic, productive rehearsal and say “okay kids, that run-through was great. Now put your instruments down, take out your journals, and write one page of….”

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