So here we are, we've known each other how long? Yes, quite a while and now I feel comfortable enough to share my most intimate teaching secrets with you.
Hush, no, don't speak, it's my turn.
You see, I'm not a qualified music teacher.
I know I may act the part, I am the first to leave and last to arrive at school, but I have been living a lie.
Through a set of most unfortunate circumstances (of which I've talked of in depth in my memoirs) I became a full time music teacher in a local elementary school.
Yup, not one musical certification paper thingy to my name! Just the ability to be in the right/wrong place at the right time. Now don't panic, I have some music ability. I'm pretty proficient on the guitar and have been playing it since I was 12. I'm now 4---!
You cheeky thing you, as if I'd reveal my age to you! Let's just say that geologically I am very young. 47.
I've been a classroom teacher for 19 years now. Loved every moment of it. except the last 2 years. The music teacher years. The hardest years of my teaching life.
Listen, I love working with kids. They're like catnip. I love the relationships that you can build, the in-depth, 'I know how rubbish your home life is' type of relationships. And for me, I miss out on that as a music teacher.
30 of 'them' pour though the door, I have them for 40 minutes and then they go out again. And then 30 more come in. It's VERY tiring and it passes in a whirl. It's not all bad, I get to see the loud mouthed twit compose a beautiful piece on garageband. And then re-work it 3 more times until he's happy with it. The most work he's done all year.
But for me, it's also been a blessing in disguise. I've had to work harder than at any point in my 19 years of teaching to pull together a music program I'm happy with.
With no formal training and little resources, I've had to constantly push myself in new directions. Changing keys of songs that I want the kids to sing. Tune 30 ukuleles in 10 minutes. Learn instruments and techniques so I can teach 'Shake it Off' on the marimba. Sing in front of 30 grade 6/7's and try to get them to do the same. Tune 30 ukuleles in 10 minutes. Put on Christmas shows/ end of year celebrations/ Remembrance day assemblies/ talent shows. Tune ukuleles.
Is there a message in this? Other than always wipe down the instruments after the kindergarten kids have had their snot encrusted claws on them?
Being something other than the class teacher I LOVED being has made me a better teacher.
Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and teaching this old dog (47) new tricks is something I'm quite proud of.
So, have a go, even if it's a small step.
You'll learn stuff. It won't all be good (I have buried the recorders ina deep, dark hole) but you'll benefit from it. And so will your students.
Now, I think it's your round. I'll have a bucket of shiraz.