Friday, May 24, 2013

Year 3: Week 33 – One Day More

One of the signs of a healthy school is that once in a while the teachers and administrators get together to have some fun and show the student body that while they take their jobs seriously, they don’t take themselves too seriously.

At my school there’s the annual M&D show. It’s a combination of mash-ups, sketches and music videos. Two years ago, I was in a music video, last year I helped arrange a rap song on elementary school music instruments and this year I taught a group of seniors, juniors, administrators, teachers and staff members a parody of “One Day More” from Les Miserables.


“One Day More” is the “everyone sing about the conflicts they are currently dealing with at the same time”-song which echoes back to Bernstein’s “Tonight,” from West Side Story.

This was literally the last idea I came up with for the finale of this show. When the people organizing the show asked for some ideas I came up with about twenty and on a whim, I threw in “On Day More.” And of course it ended up being the one they wanted to do.

So we met a couple times and re-wrote the lyrics. The seniors were going to sing about leaving the school and the juniors were going to sing about becoming seniors. The administration and staff sang about the fact that they have to work over the summer when the teachers and students are away and the teachers sang about finishing their grade reports. (I walk on from the left side of the screen at 1:50, in a dark blue vest and red tie).

Teaching juniors and seniors was kind of refreshing, even though we met an hour before school started. I taught high school for two years at my first teaching job and I was pleasantly surprised at their attention and the how quickly they learned the music.

The administration, staff members and teachers were a different story. It wasn’t that they didn’t learn the music well. It was just tricky to teach them. I couldn’t really “teacher" them, because I wasn’t acting so much as a teacher but something completely different.

We wanted to have the adults sound good on stage but the rehearsals needed to be fun. We met multiple times early before school and it was important that this time was productive but also fun. This was our time to bond, to catch up and to really enjoy being together as a community by doing something kind of absurd.

Instead of waiting for everyone to be quiet before starting as I would with kids, I just barreled through conversations. Between repetitions, I let the group chat and I didn’t try to quell laughter when someone would made a joke. With some sarcastic yelling coming from me, weird analogies and over the top conducting we got it done and put on a good performance.

While it was a challenge to teach the group this song, it was a lot of fun. It’s a weird feeling to teach teachers, but it’s also really rewarding because they get what you are trying to do. Putting this together took a lot of time and some people may think that we are crazy for spending so much time on something like this.  They're wrong, because it's doing things like this that makes a school a community and brings meaning to what we teach.  

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