Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration vs Punishment

I have always been able to inspire students to succeed.  I have never had to punish students to succeed.  I believe igniting a love for music and a passion for excellence through a positive environment leads to continued participation and contribution to the arts.  (Just to clarify - I am not incapable of discipline, and "positive environment" does not equal a lack of structure).  In the past, student dedication and teacher/parent support have allowed me to create and nurture young musicians in this positive manner, and the results have been life-changing for all involved.  I now battle lack of support and a general satisfaction with mediocrity, combined with thinning materials, exploding class size/numbers, and more responsibilities.  The magic of past years has vanished.

My goal this summer is to find a solution/balance for having had to sacrifice many of my beliefs as a teacher in order to produce functioning programs.  As it stands, the schedule and responsibilities for next year will remain as they were this year.  In fact, I believe another section of Kindergarten will be added (in combination with cuts in art and PE).  Something has to give, and I am not yet willing to have that something be the magic of inspiration.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update May 2012

Well, this has been an interesting year.  Needless to say I never got to post any thoughts or ideas regarding music education books/writings.  I had every intention, but roundabout November, my focus turned to survival mode.  I felt a strange kindred to Katniss's plight; the feeling of being in a fight to the death/odds against you environment/the current everyday classroom...

I love challenges; working on problems and finding solutions, and as a student (and thus far as a teacher), I find the answers, or at least viable solutions.  Yet I now find myself unable to reconcile my current situation.  Every day I fight to bury the rising cynicism, seeing the person I will become if I don't change now.  I am heading down a dangerous path that ends in a half-lived and overworked life.  Never once have I questioned my desire to teach...but I am not who I want to be, and that will change, starting today.