Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ten Things I'm Grateful For! - the short list!

Spring 2002 - 2nd year of teaching with my co-teacher
 Meredith Leblanc.... We were trying for the "American Gothic" look
This is my 15th year of teaching general music.  This year I began teaching at my 3rd school and the changes have made me reflective and grateful.  Every day that I work in my new position, the more grateful I become.  There are several things that I am particularly grateful for at the moment. 

1.  I am grateful for collegues.  I can honestly say that over the years I have been blessed to work with the most wonderful and amazing people. 
I've worked with folks who have mentored me, challenged me, disagreed with me, helped me, encouraged me and sustained me while they kept me accountable through even the most wonderful and difficult days of teaching.  My co-teachers and teammates have been with me through every step! 

2.  I am grateful for administration. I have been blessed.........  I truly have had the very best administrators around who have challenged me to grow beyond my certification into areas of leadership and

Instead we ended up with the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz!
grant writing that without the opportunity I never would have had the opportunity to develop. 

3.  I am grateful for time and experience.  I have to admit, I enjoy not being new.  I like the fact that my years of experience and my few gray hairs make my job a little easier than it used to be.  There are always new mistakes to be made, but I'm not going to lie, I'm very releived  that some mistakes only have to be made once.  SOME things about teaching that I used to have to work really hard at, have become second nature..... what a relief!

My last team last year at my old school  on Go Texas Day!
4  I'm grateful that I'm young enough to do this job. - I've got lots of things I don't know and a ton of things I want to learn and get better at!  I'm not so fixed in and rigid with how I've done things before that I can't change...... I can STILL bend!  I am flexible :) mostly...... 

5. I'm grateful that 5 year olds are still 5.   - The more children that I teach, (approximately 21,000 students in 15 years) the more I understand that we develop the way we do for a reason.  There are certainly traditions and cultures and circumstances that make us who we are, but for the most part, 5 is still 5 and they all love to sing and play.  For that matter, 11 is still 11 and even though they want to be cool..... they still want to sing and play.   - IMAGINATION = INTELLIGENCE. 

6.  I'm grateful for families - Nothing empowers a child like a family that they can depend on.  Nothing breaks our hearts like a child without a family on whom they can depend.....  I'm thankful for those who stand in the gap for those children who need a voice, and advocate and a champion.  THOSE are the people who make a difference.

My current co-teacher Kristen and I at TILT with our
 entire school staff 

7. I'm grateful for school communities. - The places that center our neighborhoods, that give context to our affiliation with the outside world.  I'm grateful that public schools  where we have the opportunity to invite children to first become friends with folks outside of their families.  What a wonderful thing it is to sit in a classroom full of students from  all over the world!  I find that as an adult, I seem to be the only one in the room who has trouble with names... I've always been pretty good with names.... at least those that were familiar to me....My classes these days are filled with students who have names that I have never heard before and yet, these wonderfully complex names roll off the lips of all my students easily and without effort.  What a gift to be able to easily pronounce names from cultures representative of the whole world!!!    Like me, my students are eager for me to catch up with them!

8.  I'm grateful that as a music teacher I get to be a community builder - My students have the opportunity to build a common community with people who are different from them as I help them create aesthetic experiences together.  At a previous school I had a little rhyme that I would say when the students would show me their hurts... It was a poem that in translation means something like, heal, heal, if you don't feel better today, you'll feel better tomorrow.... there is also something about the tail of a frog that always makes everyone laugh.... which is really the point......my students taught me to say in Spanish.....  it is such a habit that I find myself saying it without thought.....  At my old school, I would say it, and all of my students would laugh because they knew what it meant.....  Now I say the rhyme and no one knows it..... So just as my world has changed to include a much wider world, I get to teach my students something of one of our cultures that is in many cases, new to them. 

9. I am grateful for writing - I didn't know I could write.  I didn't know how empowering and reflective it could be.  I would have never learned to write had it not been for my desire to write music when it was met with the demmands of writing grants.  Those two things somehow came together to force me into writing a blog and I can't imagine teaching and living without one.  What a wonderful way to reflect on my day and I get to do!  I'm so glad that the Lord doesn't just hand out talents when we are young and say, "That's it!  That's all you get!"
I am glad that some things develop over time and are a product of the lives we've been given to live. 

10.  I'm grateful for my friends and family - So I've never been one to suffer in silence..... When I was a kid who had homework every night I shared my homework burden with the whole house, the neighbor down the street and my math teacher on the phone.....  I've not approached my life much differently than I did my math homework..... As a result, my friends and family have literally walked every grueling exhausting and overwhelming step with me as I've taught at first against my will and then against the circumstances of my students.  They have prayed, they have volunteered, they have encouraged and they have cut out more laminating than you can imagine... All the while, they've held my hand, let me be creative and let me complain.  Today I am grateful for them!

As you start off your new year..... What are you grateful for?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.... 

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