Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it?

Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it?

I have hit the point midway through my supposed “summer” and I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed.  Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

Let me give you some back story just in case you haven’t been following my blog since it’s inception back in March.  The past two years, I have been teaching choir full-time.  At the end of the school year, this year, I was told I couldn’t do that.  Without going into too much detail, since most of it has already blogged about, I ended up adding two Theatre classes to my schedule for next year. Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

Now, you may be saying…SO WHAT?

Well, there’s more.  I had already started earning my Educational Technology Endorsement in January.  (I had put my name on a list last October and got selected!) I had planned on taking 4-5 MINI classes this summer to finish up all of my electives I had not already done since January.  This was along with taking one 3-credit mandatory course in January, July and the final one in September.  My goal was to be finished with all 18 credits by the end of December.  Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

I also had started the INNOVATIVE TEACHING ACADEMY by A.J. Juliani at the end of March.  The Academy was to go for an entire year and help with additional resources for implementing innovative thinking into the classroom. Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

Then I get the information that I will be teaching theatre!  Wow! I LOVE THEATRE!  I have been performing throughout my life. The only problem? I didn’t have a Theatre Endorsement for secondary education.  This means figuring out how to do that one too.  Except, this one is 36 credits and once I began it, I would have 2 YEARS to complete it! Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

So…what to do?

I research and question people “in the know”. I find out that it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to complete the endorsement in that timeframe.

I make a decision.

I have to talk to my principal and ask him what to do.

Thankfully, he has the solution!

I won’t go into the details because every state and organization are different. Despite the solution, which is a REALLY GOOD ONE, I determine that it is in my best interest to take some theatre classes this summer. Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

So, I add FOUR class…TEN credits!

Then…I am asked to take on the responsibility of creating an online high school music appreciation class for our students that are on home and hospital. Check out the link to my post on that one.  Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

As I have said above, I have hit the point midway through my supposed “summer” and I am feeling just a bit overwhelmed. This is because although I have completed: three elective classes; two more have been started and seem to be fairly simple and straightforward so should be easy to accomplish; I am almost halfway through completion on the music appreciation course; I started my summer 3-credit class today; I am yet to feel any calm about what is yet to come.

See, I have those theatre classes starting next week. And…although none of them are concurrent and I will be blessed to take it easy for a few days between by attending a conference that gives MASSAGES, I am OVERWHELMED! Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

Oh…did I mention that I hurt my right knee and right shoulder so I need physical therapy for the next month? NO? Well, there it is! Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

Now that you have heard it all.  You are probably sitting there wondering “what the HECK is she thinking?” She is CRAZY! All I can say is YEP!! Completely and totally!

What am I going to do about it?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I actually feel a bit better having put it all out there for you to see.  Talking about it, helps me.  Does it help you? Do you ever feel Overwhelmed? What do you do about it? 

What was your moment of epiphany?

Epiphany…

What does it mean to you?

I think it’s that “aha” moment you have when something just makes sense.

The dictionary puts it as: 

“a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something”

My latest big “aha” moment was during a class about BreakoutEDU, I attended last week.  This was a two-day class that was jam-packed with different breakouts and ideas about how to create and run them.  The first day was all about the traditional format of Breakouts whereas the second day was all about the digital form.

So my “aha’ happens on the first day of class.

Fairly quickly, we are told we will work on a 1st grade Breakout as a whole class.  It had both positive and negative sides to doing this as a whole class. After reflecting and discussing some other options, we are told we are going to do another one.  This time, we will be in small groups. 

We get to work.  Our first task is solved quite quickly.  My friend and I had done a digital version (if you want to know about mine, check it out) previous to the class, unlike our peers and so it started out a bit easier for us.

However, as always, things got a little more difficult along the way.  That’s when differences of opinion came in.  I am used to that:) There is always someone who disagrees in these situations. The solution?  Let them work it out how they wish.  No need to argue.

I was thinking…no big deal.  People will try different possibilities and either have to go back to drawing board for new ideas or they get lucky and solve it with their first suggestion.

Wow, did I miss something! 

When everyone got done and we got into our small group for reflection, one participant accused me of stifling her idea by disagreeing with it.  She said that I made her feel as though her idea wasn’t worth pursuing simply because I shook my head in disagreement.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have my own children and I know that peer pressure is a real thing.  However, I thought…did she just stop herself from trying, because I disagreed with her?

She went on to say that if it hadn’t been for another participant telling her to try it anyway, she wouldn’t have.  She even said I intimidated her.

Let just say…I was shocked!  I couldn’t understand why she let my opinion (someone she didn’t even know) affect her ability to make an effort.

My response to her was I didn’t even know there was a problem.  I had expressed my thought of how to solve the problem, she disagreed, it looked like she was going to try it her way and I had moved on to help someone else solve a different part of the puzzle.  I figured…let her try it.  If it works, great! If it doesn’t, we try another idea. I had no idea she had had that much of a struggle.

Epiphany…here we go. 

One, I looked at it from the viewpoint of myself.  I have had a lot of people tell me I intimidate them.  I don’t personally understand it…I am 5’2″ and don’t really see myself that way.  However, over the years, it got to the point that I stifled who I was, just to avoid making people feel intimidated.  Finally, through the help of a friend, I realized, I was just hurting myself and my self-worth.

I became a true me again.  I’m not perfect.  I tell it like it is, which may come across as being forward but I don’t want to play games with people and I certainly don’t want to be passive-agressive.

This experience made me realize that the reaction this individual had, had nothing to do with me and everything to do with how she saw herself.  I finally realized that I hadn’t been intimidating, meaning I hadn’t purposely gone out of my way to put someone down or make them feel inferior.  Instead, I had just shown confidence in who I am.  The realization that I was really okay and not hurting people on purpose was a huge thing for me.  I knew now why some people had felt that way.  They didn’t have the same sense of confidence.

Two, I looked at it from her viewpoint.  I knew I could empathize with her.  I knew I didn’t understand where she was coming from but I could feel for her.  I could feel her frustration.  I could even feel her doubts since we have all had them.

This made me think of some of my students.  I could see many that would react the same way.  Why hadn’t they?  I think it has come down to my persistence in getting to know them personally so they feel comfortable around me sharing their ideas.  It also is about getting them to understand that if I shake my head, it may not have anything to do with what they said, did or the situation at all.  I may have just gotten into my head a little too much, and am shaking my head at my own inane thought.  They come to realize that if I am making a stern or frustrated expression it is rarely because of them.

It also made me realize that if we had had even just a moment to get to know each other, this incident might not have played out the same way.  It shows how much we need to communicate and get to know each other before working with each other.

Wow, NOW…I call that an epiphany!

Let me know what epiphanies you have had!

 

How do we finish strong?

How do we finish strong when we are exhausted and overwhelmed? 

I took a break from blog writing right after our Final Concert for a couple of reasons.

One, I was simply exhausted after writing every day while keeping up with my students and preparing for our end of year concert.  I give so much to the experience that I always feel the thrill of the ride but also the let down after it’s all over.  The added stress of deciding to write every day just added to that feeling.

Two, the HUGE decision I had made previously, mentioned in another blog post, had to be reevaluated and eventually changed because of circumstances that were out of my control.  This left me feeling completely and totally overwhelmed.

So…I took a break.

I knew this could be a problem, but I needed it.  I thought it would only be a day or two.  It clearly turned into this lengthy period of time… 1 1/2 weeks! YIKES!

At first, the break was welcomed and almost a relief.  Then, it seemed to become almost a demand that I not write.  But that also led to me not wanting to prepare lessons for my students.  I still had two weeks left of school!  I couldn’t afford to let that happen.

So…how to do you finish strong when you don’t want to do anything?  When you just need to relax and forget everything so you can regenerate?

Well, I don’t know about you, but for me it’s comes back to my upbringing.  It means “pulling up your bootstraps” and persevering . It means taking each day as it comes and just focusing on doing your best.  Your best for yourself, for your family and if you are a teacher like me, for your students.

I made it through the last 1-1/2 weeks by putting my focus on what I could do rather than what I had no control over.  I focused on having fun with my students, preparing them for the “final” that takes place tomorrow, and just enjoying my time with my own children.

One of “having fun” moments with my students was playing a musical game based on “telephone” using rhythms.  It is both frustrating and hilarious for all participants.

One of the “having fun” moments with my own children was going on a hike today.  We enjoyed the short but steep hike, the view at the top, and the quick descent followed by some good food. It was very restful and rejuvenating in a kind of strange way.

The preparation for the final was enjoyable for me albeit not so much for my students.  However, they will see the benefits tomorrow. So will you if you read tomorrow’s post:)

 

Empowerment…the key to understanding

Today, I took another day off.  No…another window didn’t break.

Unfortunately, it was stress of another kind.

At first, I didn’t want to take time off.

After all, we have a concert next week!

Although the majority of the choreography has been taught and just needs the refinement, I still didn’t want to stay home.

So I waited.  

And waited.

And waited.  

Finally, I realized I wasn’t going to be any good to my students with the frame of mind I was in and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better.  The stress I was experiencing was building because I was trying to figure out how to go teach 30 minutes away from my home and still be at home when the window guy was going to be there, coupled with the added stress of a family situation that seemed to be constantly compounding was too much to handle.

Yet, I didn’t see as though anything would come of me staying home.

Boy was I wrong. 

I got some very needed rest.  It took quite a while for me to get to sleep last night but I finally slept soundly.  I still woke up at the same time but I was able to read for a bit, talk to my children and get in a quick nap.

I was able to work side by side with my daughter going through different rooms to see what items we could get rid of this Saturday.

When we were beginning to wane.  I took a quick break and sat down at my computer for a moment.

A neighbor had messaged me asking if I needed any help.

I don’t know about you but I am TERRIBLE at letting others help me! But it truly humbling to have someone know you need help without being asked.

I was raised to be self-sufficient even if I didn’t feel like it.

This time, something within me told me to take the help.

WOW!  What a powerhouse my friend is.  She helped us so much.  I was able to go through things quietly making correct decisions while she packed items that had already been decided upon.  It was simply amazing.  We got through almost three rooms in less than two hours!  I told you she was a powerhouse!

What’s the point of this?

The point for me was…I was schooled today on empowerment.  

As a teacher, I work in my mind constantly trying to come up with additional ways to help my students become empowered.  I teach and release responsibility so they can “show what they know” in their own way, in their own time.

Today, my friend taught me what it was to help someone in a way that truly empowered another.

Today, I feel stronger, more confident, more motivated and I feel as though I could help someone else in the same way thus proving what I learned today.

I can only hope I use what I learned today, effectively in my classroom.  I know my students would gain so much from the experience.

Perseverance, do you have it?

Perseverance is an interesting word.

The definition, according to Google is: “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. 

Synonyms: persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power, etc.

Do you have it?

Perseverance is my mantra right now.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have made a decision.  That decision is requiring a lot of perseverance.  Mostly because it’s not a decision that will reap benefits very soon.  It’s going to take a bit of time. Hence the perseverance.

Today…another Monday.  Another day to practice with the students and help them prepare for the concert. Another day I had to keep my decision to myself. Another day to try to stay focused on the daily tasks.

Today…a day in which a VERY generous individual did something extremely kind for my family.  A day in which, while we were expressing our gratitude for this wonderful gift, we found a “eensy weensy” problem with our home.

That problem? OH…just a hole the size of a slow pitch softball in one of our basement windows.

The problem? Wondering how it happened, what we were supposed to do about it, and how we were going to pay for it.

The answer? Hasn’t come in full yet.

We did get the hole covered so the elements that change so rapidly in Utah won’t get into the house.  We did make one phone call, with the help of another friend, to find a business that might be able to provide us the needed service.  We just don’t know how it happened, although we have an idea.  We don’t know how much it will cost, whether we will get a fair price and whether we can afford it.

What to do? 

Persevere! 

I mentioned a definition from Google.  I think my definition is a little easier.  I say it’s NEVER GIVING UP and/or DOING WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE DESPITE ADVERSITY.

What does that mean to me? 

It’s simply BREATHING when things “pop up”.

It means to “just get to work”!

It means try to put off the thoughts of any problems that may come and focus on the solutions OR sometimes just on how to “Get By”.

So…do you have what it takes to Persevere? I think you do!

Find a way, Make a Way. Succeed despite what is placed for you.

 PERSEVERANCE!

Patience…What needs to be done?

Patience has never been one of my strong points.

However, lately my life has required an inordinate amount of patience.

During times like these, I find my mind starting to over think.

What needs to be done?

How can I do it?  

Have I made the right decision?

Is it still the right decision?

On and on my brain goes.  It comes up with so many questions and possibilities that I can’t shut it off.

I don’t know about you but I usually have to find something to calm my mind and/or get the thoughts off my chest, which in turn usually calms my mind.

So…it is times like this, I go to a handcrafted journal my grandmother gave me a couple of years ago.  In the journal, I keep quotes and thoughts aimed at inspiring me.  There are no stories from my childhood or even from today. There are only the thoughts I’ve had to help me think positively or the quotes i find that are inspiring to me personally.

Today, I went to the book looking for something specific.

Over the past many weeks, I’ve had to make a lot of decisions.  Some were easy, some were not. Some had to be made by me alone and some included the parts of my family that were involved in the situations surrounding the decisions that needed to be made.

Although the decisions have been made, my mind wants to move forward towards whatever step is next. Unfortunately, that pesky little thing called patience is rearing its ugly head again.  So I was very grateful for the following quote:

 

I will not lie and say that not thinking, not wondering, not imagining, not obsessing are going to be easy.  The nice thing though is that breathing calmly is easy.  The meditative breath I learned while taking a yoga class during college has often been a source of peace.  Coupled with the faith I have that everything does work out in the end and for the best will get me through this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yearly School Talent Show

Today was our yearly student talent show.  

Last year, I was on the committee that auditioned the students and selected the acts to perform at the assembly. It was an interesting experience as it was my first year teaching choir and the first year at my school.  I had spent the entire year getting to know my students and working with them on some basic skills I felt were the most important for our first year together.

But as the talent show auditions approached, I became increasingly frustrated.  Since I was on the committee, I was required to be at the auditions. This meant I couldn’t help my students prepare their pieces for the audition.  I had a number of students, both inside and outside of my class, ask me for help and I had to turn them away.  I felt awful.  The day of the auditions was fun and enjoyable.  However, I kept wishing I could have been a resource for many that auditioned.

Since becoming the Advisor to our school Stage Crew, I wasn’t put on the talent show committee.  It was bittersweet.  I know I had hoped I could be of help to students but I kind of missed being a part of the whole process.

This year, students could ask for my help and get it.  Anyone that came in, I listened to their thoughts, their performances and gave suggestions that would help them.  Unfortunately, they also kept coming to me with logistical questions I couldn’t answer because I wasn’t on the committee anymore. Thankfully, all I had to do what send them to the teacher that was over it.

Although I’ve seen the show from both sides of being an auditioner and coordinator vs being a teacher giving assistance and scheduling stage crew, I’m not sure which one I truly like best.  In some ways I would like to do both but I know that’s completely insane and I wouldn’t be able to help my students prepare.  I think I’m willing to give up much but I wouldn’t trade being there for any student that wants my help.

The really cool thing?  Last year, I had two students from my choirs make it into the talent show.  One played the piano and sang.  The other played the piano so I don’t know if I can really count this one as it wasn’t voice.

This year, I had three singers! I even had one that was in my choirs but she played her cello with a group from her orchestra class.  I was especially pleased that they did so well.  One of the students acts very large in personality but I’ve gotten to know that student really well and can see the insecurities that others can’t see.  That student got up in front of the school and performed a piece that wasn’t easy.  Our school population is quite large in comparison to our building and so we have to do three assemblies so that all of our students can see the show.  Imagine being a student that is clearly prepared but has struggled in such a way they aren’t sure how they will be received.  Imagine knowing you did your best and you made a success of your situation. I can’t wait to see what happens in the future for that student and all the others that strive for excellence.

Quotes for the moment

Today, I saw these two pics during my prep period.  Thanks to   and   for these quotes.

I decided to write them on the whiteboard and see what happened. 

What happened was really interesting…

Initially I had thought I would save the quotes for the next day but I was worried I might forget:) So I decided to write them on the board right then and there.  It might be seen by one class (my prep is 6th period and then I teach one more class before the school bell rings) but I was hopeful.

See…this class had struggled yesterday.  They were feeling tired after the weekend and out of their comfort zone because we were doing “CHOREOGRAPHY”! We had ended the class yesterday with a short, 5 minute, discussion on how the pattern we were seeing each day was making it so we weren’t going to be ready for the concert in 14 school days.  We talked about how to overcome their fears and how each of them was important to the team. I hoped for the best for today.

I said nothing about the quotes on the board as they came in.  I just listened and watched.  Each student had their own response.  Some didn’t notice anything.  Some glanced and kept moving towards their seat.  And then it happened.  I heard this small yet audible gasp.  I looked over to where it came from.  I found the source and loved the look I received.  It was as if a lightbulb had gone off in my student’s head.  She was surprised but seemed excited. She even made a comment which to the effect that she loved the play on words. She had noticed the quote on success and it really resounded with her.  Once she noticed, more students noticed.  Then they noticed the other quote. It was so interesting to continue to watch their responses.  This only took a couple of minutes but I was truly excited for what I was seeing.

I asked them what they thought of the quotes.  This let into a short discussion (again only about 5 minutes as those seem to powerful time spans) into what we each thought.  The amazing thing was in the way that they participated today.  I still had one that was visibly tired and felt sorry and somewhat worried for him but even he still gave a lot.

We started where we last left off. They practice, they worked, they created success.  We were even able to continue to work so well that they finished the piece. This was something that didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen.  It was complete turnaround.  We even reviewed the beginning of another piece and were able to add a new part to that one.  The new part REALLY took them out of the comfort zone but they did it and they did it well.

The things I have learned from my PLN on Twitter has been so ideal that I won’t be stopping my learning any time soon.

I know there are many more quotes I have LIKED so I can have access to them and I know there are many more I will find but I am thankful for the quotes I saw at that moment. It changed everything.

 

Choral Biases

When I think of choral bias, I immediately think of the comparisons that are often made between instrumentalists and singers.

Let me explain: 

 

When I was in high school, we had band and choir.  I participated only in choir, as that was my love, but I had many friends in band.  We hung out, we talked music, we participated in musicals together, etc.  It didn’t seem to matter whether you were in the band or the choir or both.

However, when I got to college I was in a for HUGE shock.  Not only was I a small fish in a big pond where competition amongst was enormous but now I had to contend with those who looked down on me.  The first class I remember attending that had both instrumentalists and singers in it was my piano class.

Now, I had taught myself how to play the piano simply because my grandparents didn’t believe I actually wanted to learn the instrument. Thankfully, they saw my desire and got me into lessons. The problem was in that I had taught myself so much, the teachers I had assumed I had more technical skills than I did.  This plagued me for years.  Because of the lessons I ended up taking from my choir teacher (who was a fabulous pianist) I continued to get better at playing and even accompanied one of the choirs I sang in on multiple occasions.  However, my technical skills still weren’t that fabulous when it came to scales, arpeggios, and Hanon (since I had never heard of that until I got to college).

Anyway, the first day of piano class came and we all introduced ourselves.  As soon as I said that I was a vocal major, I saw an immediate response that SHOCKED me.  A vast majority of the students looked at me with disgust on their face as though being a singer was a “less than musician”.  Some even voiced that opinion.  They said things like, “Oh…you’re a singer” and “Do you even know what the piano is?” The teacher even shared their opinions.  Every day after that, I felt as though I had to prove my worth as a musician.

Ok…I know, you’re out there saying “Well that’s just one class!”. Well, I hate to say it but you’re wrong.  That was only the first one.  Every theory, sight singing, dictation, or conducting class, etc. where musicians were not separated by instrument, I got the same response.  I didn’t get it.  Why did they think singers weren’t good enough?  Why did there seem to be such bias?

I have had many years to ponder this and experienced more instances when this happened both in and out of school.  I’ve even seen it as a choir teacher from my students’ parents.  Why does this happen?

One of my colleagues, that is a trombonist and teaches orchestra, and I talked about this.  He had never thought about the things that I shared.  Yet, as we were discussing my experiences and feelings, he realized that he too had participated in such events.  He admitted making fun of the lack of musicianship he had seen in singers.

Over the years, I’ve had many theories.  They usually come down to the teachers and/or parents that pass on bias to their students.  This is usually in the form of how difficult it is to play and instrument compared to how easy it is to just open your mouth and sing. Not even looking at how difficult it is to maintain pitch with or without accompaniment, how difficult it is to maintain respiration just as a trumpeter or oboist.

However, I have also noticed that too often there are singers that decide they want to be music majors but have failed to prepare themselves for the rigors of the program as much as they should.  Sometimes, they have been repeatedly advised to prepare but have failed to do so. Unfortunately, more often than not, they get to college unprepared because they either didn’t have a teacher to inform them of the requirements, a teacher that was qualified to inform them or a teacher that spent all of their time making choir “FUN” that the skills of a musician never got taught.  The students sounded great but didn’t understand what they were singing, why they were singing it or how it was created.

Both of these theories may not have been proven but they did seem to align with what I hearing from my colleague.  He felt I was definitely on right track. 

Well, the bias I have, has definitely been influenced by my experiences because of the feeling I had of always having to prove my worth.

It manifests itself in how rigorous my choral program is and the expectations I put on myself to prepare for class every day.  It meant that my first year I put an inordinate amount of pressure on myself to create that rigor and maintain it.

It manifests itself in what pieces I choose, what I teach my students, and the standard that has been placed on my students as I try to create a solid program that can compete with two of the finest musicians I have been privileged to work with…the band and orchestra teachers. Their skills make me want to be better.  They never try to make me feel inferior, yet I do.  The bias I have lived with for so long still performs in my mind and constantly recreates itself so I feel like I am still proving my worth.

I find that those same biases I complain about, I have had for my students.  I found myself, in my first year, comparing students based on whether they had taken piano lessons or not prior to taking my class.  I was finding myself wanting to teach to those students who had previous musical experience before those who had not.   What a terrible thing to do!

Thankfully, I realized what I was doing.  I can’t say it was a quick realization but at least it happened.  I realized that just because one of my students has had musical training prior to my class does not guarantee they will understand what I have to share with them. Sometimes, it’s the so-called ‘non musician’ that understands it first.  Today, I look at each student, make sure they understand, ask specific questions to check understanding and see how they apply the knowledge.  It is fascinating to me when it all comes together.  

 

Music and Collaboration

If you haven’t already realized I often think and communicate in the form of song, you haven’t read enough of my blog entries;) I don’t go through the day without having had many concourses of songs pass through my mind by the simple expresses of a word or phrase given to me in conversation with students, colleagues or family.

I was just reading an article about how bringing music and song lyrics into the classroom can impact the learning in your classroom.  The author even goes so far as to say:

“It’s amazing how song lyrics dig themselves deep into our minds and stay there our whole lives.

However, when we want to learn something and try to memorize it, it won’t stick as easy as a song will.”

That got me thinking.  

What do you when your WHOLE CLASS is all about music and especially song lyrics? Well, in my case, you try to make sure the lyrics mean something to the students.  You discuss them together, you listen to the student’s thoughts and feelings about the text, you try your best to make them understand why the composer and/or lyricist wrote the lyrics in the way they did.

But this article was about those OTHER CLASSES. 

“Music and lyrics can play powerful roles in the classroom. They can help students remember key content. They can encourage conversations. Plus, there’s great fun in creating music that relates to class content.”

That brought a thought to mind I’ve had many times before:

WHY AREN’T TEACHERS FROM THOSE “OTHER” CLASSES ASKING TO

COLLABORATE WITH THE MUSIC TEACHERS,

especially those that teach CHOIR?

The sad reality is…I don’t think we always know or will always know.

I know a lack of collaboration can occur because sometimes there’s a disconnect between “CORE” subjects and “Elective” subjects.

Intentionally or Unintentionally, teachers of so-called “CORE” classes think their class in more important and don’t see benefit in a class where you prepare music, therefore no thought of collaboration happens. But I’ve seen this happens with classes that are deemed “Elective” courses just like music is.

Sometimes, there is an expectation of the music class to work on specific types of music so, in this case, it could the music teacher’s reluctance to collaborate because it might interfere with “their plans” or required competition or even the expectation the community has for the required performances of this class.

I think a lot of times, it’s just not thought of.  Collaboration is often thought of within one’s content structure.  Math teachers collaborate with Math teachers. Science teachers collaborate with Science teachers.  Choir teachers collaborate with Choir teachers.  This goes on and on.  It’s there in excess once you hit the middle/junior high school or high school realm.  Everyone is thinking about what “I” need “my” students to do in “my” class.

I have had a dream for a number of years where the bounds of collaboration are broken.  Where a Math teacher can find ways to work with any other subject and make relevance.  I know this happens often with Elementary school teachers, but that is sometimes because that teacher teaches all subjects (at least they do in Utah). My dream would be that classes cross boundaries.  We get out of the mindset of mine and yours and think “OURS”. When the classrooms become OURS, then I truly believe that learning can be pushed past boundaries, past mandatory testing, past what I keep hearing people saying is wrong with public education today. It also means that our contents become AUTHENTIC, RELEVANT and REAL to our students because they won’t see anything other than a COMMUNITY. 

 

I don’t know about you, but if I get the opportunity to find a place where that happens, I’m going to grab it and run all the way there.  It won’t matter what it takes for me to be prepared, but prepared I will be and innovation I will see.