Saturday, September 26, 2009

New School

I've had two days now at the new school/music service I'm teaching at. I teach there in the afternoons on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are leasing rooms from a tutoring service so on Tuesday I get my classroom with the white boards filled with triangles and cosine equations. The building is covered in artwork- old French art show style with paintings and photographs reaching up to the ceiling. My favorite is a black and white photograph of a cow pissing in a field. Because, why?

The classroom situation is both lucky and not. On the one hand it is a lovely size, wood floors for sliding around on, and a window for opening when it gets super stuffy. On the other hand it is right over the kitchen/reception room- and you remember all of those lovely paintings and whatnot? They shake. It's a very bouncy floor.

So the question then becomes A: is it at *all* possible to get another room? I'll even take one smaller and with tables in it...I think. As long as it doesn't bounce the entire building. And B: is it possible to teach an early years music course without and stomping, jumping, or throwing yourself onto the floor because you're so excited you just can't control yourself? Then a third question, C: how much do I stick to my guns and try to get another room/convince them that it is okay that the paintings are shaking on the wall because this is the class they hired me to teach?

The tykes are different from my usual tykes. They're a bit older (I'm going to call them kids, I think) and they're a bit snarkier. One girl was rolling her eyes and saying "easy peasy lemon squeezy" any time I asked her to do something. Eventually she forgot because she started having so much fun (because I am good at my job) but until we got to that point I was finding it somewhat difficult to ignore the eye rolling and not roll mine right back. That being said, it was hilariously over the top.

Fortunately most of the kids speak English- there are only a couple who don't and music, being that handy dandy universal language, seems to get through alright anyway. For the most part. There is a wide range of abilities as well- one girl came in, saw me playing the tiny xylophone, and responded to that by singing a major scale on solfege....I'm going to suggest that she gets bumped up to the more advanced class.

It will be interesting to see how my experience in the different schools inform and change what I do with both of them. For instance- on Tuesday the more structured rhythm work went very well at the new school, so on Wednesday I brought that to the tykes- reminding me that it is possible to teach even the little ones some proper foundation in musical notation rather than just fun songs. That being said, my tykes favorite songs were also the kids favorite songs. So there you go.

I feel like I've been putting my foot in it a bit with the head of the new school- so hopefully that will all calm down soon. Wednesday went better than Tuesday and I've been ruminating on how to teach tykes/kids without running around all over the's a challenge.

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