Monday, June 11, 2012

A New Journey

Judging by this posts' title, I feel like I should have some theme music here. A little "Star Trek / Journey to a New Frontier" sort-of sound. Maybe later. For now, just some explanation.

For a while now, everything I had done education-wise had been to gear up for the elementary music classroom. I played the french horn from 6th grade on (yup, I'm a certified band nerd, and YES, I like it), and got a scholarship to the University of Texas (a teeny one compared to the amount it cost to actually go there), and to the University of Houston, where I ended up going to school. Go Coogs. My college and private lesson experience (YUCK) there only solidified my preference for teaching, not performing, so off to the elementary music classroom I went in 2002. I graduated in the middle of a school year, so the pickings were slim - so much so that I got to ask off for my own wedding / honeymoon DURING the interview. Good times. I worked there for a few years before opening a new school, and eventually quitting to take care of my first born. Fast forward to a few years ago when I went back to work while my 2nd child was only months old. I took a solo music position at what looked like a great school. I fell in love with the school and while I was on maternity leave with my third and last child, I started to think about going into the classroom. Of course, with all of the post partum hormones flowing through me, I left the feeling alone and waited for it to go away. It never did.

I began with talking to my husband about it, and he went through the normal line of questioning (being the devil's advocate). He's great at that. Most times he grounds me (YOU ARE SO GROUNDED....haha), and makes me realize that my crazy ideas aren't feasible, and for good reason! But, this time, I had done my homework, so to speak, and I made sure that I explored every possible cause for feeling like I needed to change the content of my teaching from music to the general classroom. He asked, "Are you sure you're not just bored?" I laughed and said, "If I'm bored, I'll color my hair." I talked to my principal about it, and surprisingly, she was on board. I studied and got certified, and was hired to teach the second grade. My first choice. :)

So began the shock on most people's faces and in most people's voices. I knew it was coming - from the music teachers who couldn't comprehend leaving the music classroom to the general classroom teachers who assume that I have *no idea* what I'm getting myself into. I have to say, though, when I explained myself, most people "got it." So here's the deal.....

I want my own class. It's that simple. It's nothing that is wrong with my school or district, but with Fine Arts in general. In music, I see my kids once every 6 days for 50 minutes, or if I want to see them more (every 4 days), I get to double up on the classroom size - sometimes up to 55 kids. That's not quality time. I don't know many of the kids' names, and while they like coming to music, they come and go without me having a connection to very many at all. And that wears on you. I watch teachers get attached to their students, have classroom parties, field days, begin and end the school year with them, and I'm jealous. I want to watch them grow from point A to point B. I'm looking to go from a shallow connection with 850 students to a deeper one with 22. I know I'm trading good and bad on both ends, but I realized over the past several years that I didn't just want to teach MUSIC, but that I wanted to TEACH.

I have never been so excited to be in my own classroom, and that's how it should be. I can't wait.

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  1. I'm excited for you! I totally understand the mass number of students in an elective class...and while they all know your name, the only ones I remember are the ones that are OVERLY nice or OVERLY a pain in the hiney! However, I don't think I could switch to generalist in any grade but elementary.... and then there is that silly STAAR.... hmmmmmm.... my passion is art. But what a great way to put into words what you are feeling! I am proud of you! Good luck next year! AND... you'll get to take those "first day/last day" photos with all your sweet ones! And spoil your "first class" rotten!!!

  2. I KNOW you'll be an AWESOME 2nd grade teacher!!! That first class will be one blessed bunch to have YOU!!!! Way to go after what you wanted!!! Wish I could be around to watch and "help"!

  3. I hope you enjoy 2nd grade! I just returned to a regular classroom 2 years ago after doing intervention for a long time. Although it wasn't exactly my choice at the time, I am loving being back with my first graders and can't imagine doing anything else!
    Still Teaching After All These Years