Friday, January 19, 2018

A Day in the Life

“I read the news today, oh boy…” No, no, it’s not that Day in the Life. Since I was on a roll with blog titles “A Day in…” and today was my last day at school for six weeks, I thought I’d share what my day was like. Not that anyone’s particularly interested—nor should they be. But it might be of interest to fledgling music teachers wondering what they’re getting into or people interested in the relationship between passion and energy or might be good for me to read some years hence and wonder, “How the hell did I do that?” Because truth be told, I’m impressed that I could. A brief outline of the day:

6:00- 7:30 am—Awakening, morning routine, drive to school

7:50 - 8:15 —Arrive at school, prepare the music room for the first class.

8:15 - 9:00 —Teach an active class blending body percussion and alliterative poetry to thirty-two 6th graders. By the end, all up slapping their bodies and sharing their small-group new poems based on the first sound of their names and the model tongue twister Peter Piper.

9:00 – 9:45 — Host the Bay School Jazz Band and oversee a sharing between sixteen of my 8th graders and the visitors. We played two pieces, they played three.

9:45- 10:00 —Talked to one of the 8th graders about her Jazz History test and made a deal for better future studying and a possible future piano lesson.

10:00 – 10:45 – Another sharing with my next 8th grade group and the Bay School students.

10:45 -10:55 —Say goodbye to the guests, put instruments away and prepare the space for my next preschool class.

10:55 – 11:25 — Teach a class combining 5 year olds and 4 year olds from different classes who don’t know each other very well. Some twenty-five preschoolers and me beginning with a folk dance, moving on to a partner clapping play, then a newly-invented –by-me partner movement game to Sally Go Round the Sun followed by a free-style Bow Belinda contra dance. Note: Me alone with twenty-five 4 and 5 yr. old kids singing, clapping, dancing with abandon with enough energy to light Los Angeles, but the situation under control. Are you impressed yet? Also note that there has not been a minute to go to the bathroom. And it goes on.

11:25-11:55 – The class above with twenty-five different 4 and 5 year olds.

11:55 - 12:05 – Bathroom and change a grade on the computer to complete the report cards I just finished yesterday.

12:05 to 12:45 – Lunch, write my classes in my planning book, prepare the room for singing.

12:45 – 1:05 — Alone with one hundred 1st through 5th grade elementary kids for Singing Time.

1:05 – 1:30 — Set up ten instruments in a circle, including a heavy drum set, bass bars and bass xylophone.

1:30 – 2:15— Ten 4th grade kids rotating around the circle of instruments playing each of the 5 parts in my jazz arrangement of Boom Chick a Boom

2:15 -3:00– The next group of 4th graders playing the same.

3:00 -3:30 —Carpool duty.

3:30 to 3:50 –Baby shower for a staff member.

3:50 – 4:00 – Drive to the Jewish Home for the Aged.

4:00 -5:00 – Play piano for the folks there— Bach, Mozart, Strauss, Offenbach, Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael and more.

5:00 – 5:30 – Drive home.

5:30 – Sit down to write this.

So that was it. Eight classes ranging from 10 kids to 100 within 7 hours, five of those classes in a row with no break, age range including preschool, elementary Middle School, High School and Seniors and happy to be home without a night class scheduled. But truth be told, I could do it.

It might seem that I’m fishing for adoration or sympathy or pity or the feeling that the reader should be impressed. Well, maybe so. Or that I’m practicing using this as a comeback to people who say “You lucky teachers get summer off!” or “Music teaching? You get paid for just singing and dancing all day?” But really, I’m neither complaining (I didn’t even get into that actual per hour salary!) nor boasting, just reporting what a day in my life is like.

And now it’s my time off!! Summer in February, though I’ve unwisely decided to spend most of it in a cold weather China, preceded by a cold Michigan, with a little taste of warmth in Thailand and perhaps India. Six weeks ahead with another kind of intense schedule teaching seven courses in seven different places with an occasional one-day break to be a tourist. Not boasting about that, it’s actually just plain stupid, but my sense of urgency to work as hard as I can while I can and my waning interest in tourist sights (though I do love to just wander around new cities and towns) often ends up with me ending one workshop one day and beginning another the next.

So dear reader, thanks for your patience and off I go into the mode that kicked this blog off seven years ago when I was on my way to Korea. Back to the traveling music teacher and all his confessions. See ya!

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