Friday, June 10, 2016

Year 6: Week 38 – Gratitude & The Last Class

At the end of our middle school division meeting, our principal invited people to share thoughts and reflections from the past school year. People thanked others in the room for their support while other teachers reflected on special moments with their students.

One teacher, who is also a father of a student at our school, talked about how his daughter was sad that it was the last day of school. This was a clear sign of how great the year was for his daughter and he thanked all of us for her great year.

After he finished another teacher said, “Adding on, I want to thank all of you for taking care of my son.” As she ended her statement, she began crying.  She was overwhelmed by gratitude to all of us in the room.

My son is 3 and he’s my world, and to the people who take care of him, I feel so indebted. With these middle school kids I teach, sometimes they seem so mature and so old, it’s easy to forget that even though their parents no longer cuddle them to bed, it doesn’t mean they don’t hold their children as close to their hearts as they did when they were infants.

Last Class
Last performance is done, music is put away and  the classroom is cleaned up. What are we going to do for the last class of 6th grade music?

The 6th grade choir teacher and I immediately agreed that we should combine our band and choir classes together and do something fun. The question was, what to do with the kids. Watch a movie? No, it’s only one class period of time and that’s not very creative or educational. Take them outside to play kickball? Maybe but the thing is that playing a sports game would introduce a competitive, and athletic aspect to music class. A lot of kids like music class because it’s a space where athleticism and competition are not showcased, which is something we wanted to preserve, so that idea was out.

What to do?

Play a clapping circle game, do drum circle activities, work through Dalcroze Eurhythmics activities (rhythmic movement) to Dixie Chicks music and learn Zimbabwe-style mallet songs. It was a whirlwind, it was challenging to teach, but it was a lot of fun.

Both of us were really glad that we leaned in, dug deep and we gave our kids fun and meaningful musical experiences to end the school year.

Showing our kids a movie would have been fine and we would have tired and bored after the fourth music class that day, but instead we worked our kids and we were exhausted because of doing satisfying work as teachers.

That's the end of Year 6.  More reflection later, right now, time for sleep.

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