Go Big or Go Home

Nice to meet you.

The saying is “Go Big or Go Home” and, boy, am I living that way right now. I have always wanted to start a blog to share my thoughts on teaching (music education specifically), how to dress fashionably for a teaching job and my personal tribulations. I have even started multiple free blogspot, wordpress and weebly sites. Unfortunately, none of them stuck. I write one or two posts and then immediately abandon the site. Today I thought not anymore! I went all in, paid for a premium membership and started a damn blog. Hopefully the added knowledge of my yearly premium subscription payment will be enough to convince me to continue writing, but only time will tell.

A little background about me.

I am a first year teacher at an urban middle school in Ohio. Our 6-8th grade school has about 800 students with nearly 60% qualifying for free or reduced lunch, just so you have a small understanding of the demographic. There are six bells in a day and we run on semesters. I am lucky, as an elective teacher, because I get to have the same students the entire school year. I start my morning with breakfast duty, then teach two bells of 8th grade choir. My first bell is about 25 students composed of girls and boys, but my second bell is a 14 member all-girl ensemble. Next I have my (extremely short) plan bell, followed by two bells of seventh grade choir which each have about 30 students in them. After seventh grade I have a thirty minute lunch break, a thirty minute recess duty period and then I end my day with two bells of sixth grade choir. I know I’m not supposed to pick favorites, but I absolutely love my sixth grade classes. They each have about thirty students in them and every student loves to sing. Seriously. They even love working on our Sing on Sight books, which is an amazing series that teaches students basic sight-reading skills. I am SO looking forward to working with them over the next two and a half remaining years. I also consider them to be my real product as a teacher, since they have never experienced the influence of another choir teacher.

Currently.

We are now on the final week of school before Christmas break. Last week I had both of my holiday concerts and it was absolutely the most stressful week I’ve had since having to take my Ohio Educator Assessments to get my teaching license. I will detail my concert stress in another post, because it was just that intense. Being the week before break, I have decided to let my students watch musicals in class. I had never shown a video in class this whole school year (except for the occasional music video) and I honestly cannot believe people get away with doing this so frequently. Although the videos they are watching (I let them vote and choose between The Wiz, The Wizard of Oz, Joyful Noise, Teach Me to Dance, Camp Rock and Hairspray) actually have educational value in my class, I still feel so completely lazy as a teacher. The students told me that last school year in choir they watched (what they consider) “a bunch” of movies. I just don’t get it, but hey, who am I to judge another’s teaching style? It is quite possible there was a large educational value-maybe worksheets about the film-but personally I just feel downright lazy in my job this week. My students definitely deserve a fun break from singing, but I would love any other suggestions on activities we could do in our class that don’t feel like our typical workload.

If you took the time to read this blog post, thank you.

I will try my best to continue to write about all of my first year experiences and would appreciate any suggestions or advice.

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