A Simple Song, Skype, & Warm Sunshine

This is my day #7 (well, 9 if we include 2 snow days right before my accident) not waking up at 5:30 & getting ready, not loading the car with our two kids, not driving 23.5 miles to my school while eating breakfast, not sitting at my desk thinking about my teaching day, and not being with my students.

I miss everything I listed. I even miss the things I didn’t list.

Following up an email, my friend and colleague, Jared, called me yesterday. I asked him to download Skype onto our classroom laptop so I can talk to my 8th grade students. Because he is a nice and caring guy, he did.

This morning at 11 AM, I was sitting reading through my 8th graders’ blog posts. I dug up some resources for their projects and while posting, I received a Skype call. It was Jared. We chatted about how we are going to set my call up. I wanted to just say hi and tell my students how they were to go about their music projects.

One by one they came into class, seeing my projected face via Skype.

They smiled.

They asked me if I was OK.

Some stared at the laptop camera.

They waved. 🙂

It was like I was in the room, greeting them into my classroom.

I told them I missed them. I miss talking to them. I miss listening to them. I almost cried talking about just a few months we have together until they graduate (my school is a Prek-8th). Time is passing by…so fast.

While looking around the room, I saw one of my students, T, with his guitar. I passively asked him to play me a tune. As usual, he got shy and denied the request. I thought it was a worth a shot. Maybe next time…

Wait, then I heard some shuffling, kids mumbling, and then saw OT bring his Baby Taylor and a folding chair in front of the laptop.

It was a live serenade.

We sat quietly and enjoyed the music for those few minutes. I loved every moment that we all shared together. Just beautiful…

Several things amazed me:

  1. This student just took up guitar last year. He has improved so much since then. Did he not only grow in his passion for music, he matured through it. His expression, development of discipline to practice, and learned to remember his equipment for each music class. He had found what makes him come alive. He is a happy young man.
  2. My other students who sat quietly observing and really appreciating their peer’s music. They were a great audience who gave him a rousing ovation.
  3. What is this Skype thing? It is an amazing tool we have to connect with people near and far, for free! I am so happy that we live at a technologically complex time (I read a great post by @dougpete this morning that got me thinking). Yes, there are a lot to understand; these great tools ARE available for us to use in our classrooms. I want to learn as much as I can so I can teach better.

As I sit in a warm, sun-shone room, I have to tell you that I can’t wait to return to what I love – teaching.

How am I doing these days?

I am taking more steps and getting stronger. Thanks for visiting!


22 thoughts on “A Simple Song, Skype, & Warm Sunshine

  1. Thanks for sharing your great story with us! I admire your passion and dedication to your students. 🙂

    I am hoping to use Skype in the next few weeks to bring the composer of music we are performing in a 2nd grade program (Thursday!!) into our classroom to talk about our performance! Hoping we will be able to set it up.

    So glad that your children were able to see YOU. I’m sure that made their day! Take care!

  2. Wow, there’s a lot of content in this post. First, I had no idea about the accident and I hope that you’re on the mend. Secondly, your passion for teaching and your students is leaping from my monitor. More importantly, I’m also seeing the passion from your students and friends. It really sounds like you’ve got it going on. The really cool thing though is your personal commitment to excellence. You need to be commended for continually looking ahead and learning to make your classroom relevant and motivating for your students.

    1. Doug, I was thinking a lot after I read your blog post. So Thank you for your thoughts. I am recuperating well. I’m so glad I have a lot of time to read! The changed pace of my life has been the opposite of my daily routine – it’s been an eye-opener!
      Thanks for your words. Here are two cups of coffee for you ☕ & I ☕ to sip and “talk” over! Cheers!

  3. What a great image this paints. It’s interesting that Skype seemed to create an environment that encouraged a shy student to do something that he might not have done otherwise (play in front of an audience). I’ve noticed a “karaoke effect” in my classes when I record students. It would be fun to explore the “TV effect” of Skype 🙂

    Obviously, your students love you, and the feeling is mutual. Thanks for starting my day off with such a positive read!

    1. Barbara! Thanks for your visit and kind words!
      I am so happy to make another connection with you – you’re all the way in Japan! I am excited to read about your work (will visit your blog). FYI – One of my favorite conductors is Masaaki Suzuki of Bach Collegium of Japan. Such beautiful choir!
      Thanks so much for stopping by! Here’s to learning!

      1. Thanks, Barbara, for finding this article for me!
        I found out about Maestro Suzuki from a friend about 11 years ago. My friend (who is Japanese American) ended up getting a scholarship to study with him. He is an amazing interpreter of Bach’s works. I hope you get to hear his choir. I love the connection we have with today’s technology!

  4. Very nice story! The power of music and tech is all in here. I’m so glad you were able to connect with your students! I’m sure they needed to see you as you did them… Continue to get well!

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Yoon. It is a testament to our little community…Jared reaching out to help…students willing to look at school a little bit differently…and OT making us realize that this is why we do what we do. We miss you! I’m so glad you were able to have those moments today.

  6. Glad to hear you are on the mend. Man, a guy gets wrapped up in a family wedding for a few days and look at what he misses! Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate that you are using the technology to continue connecting with your students even while you are away from school. Ten years ago, that wouldn’t/couldn’t have happened.

    You mentioned that your students are going to graduate soon. Such transitions are always happy/sad. The cool thing about Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc is that through technology your connection & your mutual learning/developing no longer ends on the last day of school. Thanks to web 2.0, I’m still learning with my students years after they have left my classroom. (Just this week I connected with a former 8th grader who is studying for his medical school boards.) Awesome!

    1. Philip! Thanks so much for your visit! Weddings, esp family weddings, are so special and hectic. I was so happy to read of your blissful events.
      I am really thankful for the way we can connect via Twitter, blog and everything else. It is more of a complex world, but I feel that I’m learning so much more because of it.
      My heart sinks every year our 8th graders graduate. But I’m also hopeful that these fine young people will make a difference in our world. Thanks for sharing this journey with me…

  7. Yoon, I have to be honest – I became emotional when I read your post. It is beautiful to see how caring and loving your classroom community is; you clearly are passionate about what you do, and care deeply for your students. Not happy to hear the news, but am glad that you are on the mend. Take it easy, and speedy recovery to you!

  8. Isn’t technology incredible? I think about students that I have taught that are in the hospital bed and wish that I had pushed more to connect them with the classroom with Skype. (Skype is one of the only blocked services at school.) I am so happy that you were able to see your students, to get a little bit back to “life as normal” even though you aren’t quite there yet. That is a breath of sunshine.

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