Friday, December 10, 2010

Minor vent....

When I was first teaching, I worked with a highly accomplished musician.  He had a doctorate from Julliard (I went to Juilliard, by the way- I even have a sweatshirt to prove it).  He was a phenomenal piano player, rivaling the likes of one Dr. R, my college choir director who I swear was able to play the piano while using both hands and her head to conduct us.  It's one of the reasons I am certain I will never be a college professor.  But I digress.  This gentleman was hired to teach middle and high school choir.  And while I admit being as impressed as everyone else with his PhD from Juilliard (I went there too, did I mention that?), it soon came to light that teaching was not his 'thang.'  He had never had an education course.  He had never taken classroom management or even observed a music class in action.  I'm quite certain he never read 'The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher.'  Because he wasn't.  He yelled and screamed; he threatened and stomped.  There was a lot of storming from the room, both by him and his pupils.  He didn't understand how to set reasonable expectations and then how to get the kids to meet or exceed them.  In fact, once during a fine arts department meeting, he was complaining (again) about the kids and how they didn't know how to sing.  The band teacher scoffed, "So teach them!"  To which Mr. PhD replied, "That's NOT my job!"  Dumbfounded, we all wondered who's job it was.

I never questioned my own classroom management skills after working with him.  Sure, you have days that are a little off- the kids are nosier, more excited, more animated than others.  Today, for example, the last day before winter break... oh hell, I'm a Christian and it's my blog- before CHRISTMAS break, the kids are nutty.  But I have rules set in place for how students should behave in my room.  It might take a minute or two longer for them to remember those rules on a day like today, but they do remember them and we've had fun playing two drama games without getting out of control.

Classroom management can make or break a classroom.  Heck, it can make or break a teacher.  Some people understand it and are made to enforce it.  Some people... (insert BIG sigh here)... are not.  Those people not only make their own lives difficult, they make it hard for others too.  No matter the expectations from one classroom to another, students who get worked up and riled up during one class find it hard to get control immediately for another.  They are just kids, after all.  And you know that you remember being a little naughtier than usual when you had a substitute, especially for a particularly strict teacher.  Try to imagine having that substitute every day- one who seemed to shuffle their way through each class, who's discipline was inconsistent at best, and who had no follow through except, "Go to the office!" without even an explanation of what you'd done.

It makes me tired just thinking of it... by the way, I realize this post is slightly unfinished.  I did start with a purpose in mind but then remembered that it's the interwebs and anyone can find anything on here.  I decided to refrain from the specific example that got me started on this rant in the first place.  So I apologize for the disjointed feeling and the rather sudden ending.  I guess the good Southern girl is coming out.  Because, as I learned on a TV show the other night, "If you're going to talk about people, you have to whisper!"

Did I mention I went to Juilliard?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Writing FAIL

I did not complete Nanowrimo.  Heck, I barely even started.  I think I just wasn't in the mindset, to be honest.  I wrote for the first two days and then just FORGOT.  Literally.  I went to bed on the 3rd day and was snuggling into the sheets to close my eyes before I remembered that I was supposed to have written 1,667 words that day.  Needless to say, it didn't get much better after that.  I wrote a couple of days at school (I had a few days where I didn't have much to do) but writing at home did not happen.  Last year I had an office upstairs and I think that made things easier- I could get away from distractions and focus on writing for a bit.  Now our "office" is in the living room so that didn't help anything.  I'm not laying blame- it was me and me alone that did not accomplish this goal.  But I will say that, although I set myself this goal of writing something novel-sized before the anniversary of Mom's death, it's probably not going to happen.  I'm just still not ready to tell my story.  It's in there, but it's still cooking.  I don't know when it will happen.

Stop judging me.

Christmas vacation is looming on the very near horizon!  In six days we will fly to Colorado to see Shannon and the Colorado Franks.  Then home to Georgia for the whole break.  I can't wait.  Not only am I definitely ready for a break in general, but I'm so excited to be with my family for the whole break!  The last two years, we've spent a couple of days with my family, but the majority of the vacation in England.  I love being in England in the winter, but I am just really happy to know I'm going home for Christmas... makes me want to sing a song. 

I got nothing else for today.  Maybe more later.  We'll see...