Questions, Conversations, and the Rachmaninoff’s 2nd

21/366/2012 Snow Day

Happy 2012! I have been away from blogging since September. I’m finding a moment on this snowy morning to reflect (and remember how to use WP interface!). The past four months have been packed with performances, student projects, stories, challenges, and relationship-building conversations. Today’s post will focus on the conversations I have been having with my students. And for the record: it’s good to be back!

ONE of the best part of being a music teacher at a small private school is that I get to teach many grade levels. In the past, it got really crazy when I had two classes back to back – one being the oldest and the other, the youngest group of students. Thanks to the thoughtful schedulers, however, I have a schedule that works out beautifully this year. I also get to head a lunch table 3 times a cycle with the K-2 students (yes, we eat sit-down, hot lunches with the students!) and go out to 2 recesses after lunch.

There’s a group of Kindergarten students I want to share about. Whenever they see me,  they run to me with open arms and look up with the brightest eyes and smiles to ask me, “Mrs. Lim, are you on recess duty?” For some reason, they let me in since the beginning of the school year: they let me play a role in their daily recess make-believe stories. Their excitement,  their voices, their curiosity, their unfiltered thought process, and their love inspire me to live each day with a passion to discover and learn. They also remind me what important role I have as a teacher to all my students…

Interestingly, the following TWO conversations with my middle school students this week reiterated my last point.

Conversation 1: My students have been creating music on GarageBand for a project so during an afternoon study hall, a group of students came to work on their projects. One particular student had been working on his project pretty extensively so I told him I would love to listen to his music when he’s ready to share it for a feedback. I sat in the empty seat and wanted him him to finish editing; he started asking questions about editing music. Our conversation started as a Q and A for GarageBand, but ended up talking about his passion for music. After he told me he would like to do something in music, I was frank with my 13-year-old student (he has an amazing listening skills and can play just about any instrument). I told him I can see him creating, mixing, editing music in the future.

Then there was a short, but awkward silence. His widened eyes stared at me with a disbelief. He asked me, “Do you really think  I can…?” My answer: “Yes – I believe it!”

What I realized: my believing-in-what-my-student-can-become is just as important as what I’m teaching him now. We will definitely have more conversations, but for now, I’m going to think of ways I can support and get my students like him to think of possibilities.

Conversation 2: I was starting a class and while surveying the room while making my announcements, I noticed that one of my students was missing. A friend of the student quickly remembered that he was in a meeting and wanted me to know that he might be late. So we started the class. When students dispersed to worked on their projects, that student came to talk to me. He apologized for being late and wanted to run an idea by me. I was curious so I listened carefully.

Essentially, he pitched an idea to the student government to change a school dance into a night of student-run concert night. Tickets will be sold like a a real concert and the student line-up have to be really good. But there was more. The concert would be a benefit concert – it is to raise money for the music department so that we can have more instruments/equipment.

He asked, “What do you think? Do you think it’d be helpful? Would you approve this idea?”

🙂 I had not seen this coming. Here was a student who was thinking about how to help me and my colleagues to create music better with our students. I was thinking, Whoa, what kind of kid is this? Did we make an impact on his music learning so much that he wants to give back? I am totally humbled and excited: we have future music education supporters!

There are THREE ways I can summarize what I’ve been learning:

  • Students matter more. Building strong relationships in and out of classrooms helps me to understand students better and will make me a better music teacher.
  • {For any teacher or parent} what we do everyday for the student (children) and for our profession (family), make an impact in our schools and communities (relationship). Be strong & be excellent!
  • The past 4 months (the active learning and reflecting months) have been like Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony (third movement). The ebb and flow of life bring us sweet, harrowing, and unforgettable melodies like this one. So here’s my life in music. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do, especially at 3:54.  ~ Yoon

(Hear the entire third movement! Here’s the part 1 to the excerpt you just heard

http://youtu.be/v60qgwtOQCI)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s