"Journal #2: February 18, 2002
This week has been quite an adventure, I?m learning a lot about all of the
extra things that we must do as music teachers. I know I said this last
week, but it is a lot of work. Giving lessons after school and traveling
all day leaves little time for myself. But, I am enjoying my experience,
and continue to develop my conducting style. My cooperating teacher has
done a good job of giving me pointers to help convey what I want to the
students. I think eighth grade is my toughest class because they are a
large group, are very social, and are just at that "age". But, hopefully
we?ll continue to work through those problems. It is also getting down to
crunch time before contest, and with this ridiculous block scheduling we
only see the choirs twice a week. What a program killer that is!! Anyway,
I have lots to say about block scheduling, but couldn?t even begin to put
it all down here! I hope everything continues to go well"
Feb 18 2002, Monday 4:17 CST
Getting a choir ready to perform at KMEA is very stressful for the
director. You are worried about the choir, the schedule of events, and
your own conducting. I also learned that if you do decide to do this, it
may be better to learn a good portion of the songs first semester and
brush them up before KMEA. I also learned that you need to choose songs
that only a few people know and then do a few good ol standards.
I learned a lot about the time that goes into a big show. The students
geting ready, the audition and judging process and then the choosing and
make ing sure that every student gets into the show. Wow! Now I know why
we had so many classes and were so busy in college, becuase it was going
to be twice as much now.
I am concerned about planning for the day. We seem to just go with
whatever seems to be the mood of the students, so I find myself planning
way in advance things I want to work on in each song for each ensemble in
case she puts me in front of the class. I never know in advance when it
will be my turn. I guess it keeps me on my toes, but I am person that
likes a plan.
Student teaching is wonderful and I am excited to go out do it next year.
It is a very rewarding job with lots to learn every day."
Feb 18 2002, Monday 7:06 CST
"Things are still weird at Bonner Springs High School. We are still
without a room, so prior planning has been difficult as we are unsure
which room rehearsal will be held. For example, Monday we started in the
auditorium, and found out the middle school band was rehearsing in the
same location. So we spent the first part of the hour moving to the band
room (including piano). The good news is that we are preparing for a
variety show that involves several group acts, so this is an opportunity
for them to practice their individual routines. By Wednesday, the room
was still not done, and the kids were out for a five day weekend. Oh boy,
we come back Tuesday only to remind them of what we worked on this week,
and the show is on Feb. 28th!
Hopefully by the time Tuesday arrives, the room will be completed and this
experience can be "normal." Of course, this is another shortened
rehearsal week due to KMEA. Again, I welcome myself to reality!!"
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 11:47 CST
-that holiday parties make kids a little wired, but I still thought that the
day was fun. Maybe that's because I got to wear a lot of red, a heart
barrette in my red hair, and my "valentine's day boots". (My Valentine's
-that textbooks help you so much in planning your lessons and figuring out a
curriculum. They serve as a great guideline.
-that helping out with things outside the classroom, like "safety patrol",
really helps the kids get to know you, and you get to know the students a
-that you can make a game out of learning student's names with the younger
students. they all help you and even give you ways to help yourself
remember their name.
-that I am actually a morning person!!
-I hope when the job search begins and student teaching is still happening I
can mantain my sanity.
-I hope that my first fourth grade leson goes well on tuesday, and as I add
more grades I hope that I can remain as efficient as I've been lately.
I'm still having a great time teaching elementary school. I also like that
tomorrow I get a day off for President's Day. George Washington Rocks!!! I
have so much fun with the students. A student asked me if I knew Drew
Gooden, and another student is infatuated with my fake red hair. I just
have to laugh that they are never afraid to ask me anything. I feel like I
am really cut out to teach young students, and that makes me happy because I
never like being a hotel housekeeper"
Sara K. Bradstreet,
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 10:28 CST
"1. It is hard to keep your enthusiasm going when you have all of the
classes by yourself for 3 of the five days of the week. It's crazy to
think how I will feel at the end of teaching a full wekk. This is also
really difficult when one of these days is a school party and one of the
other days is a Friday after the party. Adding to a difficult week is
that the kids have not had a full week of school since the second week
back from Christmas Break.
2. -that I don't get too grouchy from being tired
-that I don't show boredom after teaching the same lesson for the fourth
-that I can start making lesson plans faster
3. It is crazy how tired the kids were this week. They are not used to
being in school for five days in a row. This "tiredness" can cause some
of your best kids to turn into little devils and the testy kids to turn
more squirrelly than ever. Party days are not my favorite to teach,
either. Oh----if a special needs kid comes without his para and wants to
hold an instrument, all of the extra muscle in your body cannot possibly
stop him from keeping this thing in his hand. They are so strong and
unwilling to do what they are asked without their para that it is amazing
and a little frustrating."
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 9:45 CST
- The sixth graders of today compare to the 9th graders of my day
- It is so important not to back down when a kid is testing me
- Some of these kids have major issues that cannot be resovled in 40
minutes of class time
I am concerned...
- That I'm going to plan a lesson that may be over the heads of some
students at New York and way too easy for the students at Deerfield.
- I may never learn all of these names!!
- I am spending way too much time on classroom management instead of the
This week was really rough. I am between two schools, so I eat luch in my
car and plan with two teachers. It has been intriguing to see the
difference in the kids I teach at Deerfield and the kids I teach at New
York. I have to completely shift my strategies between schools. It is not
necessary to be as "on top" of the kids at Deerfield, and it is hard to
remember sometimes. I LOVE the way my teachers are helping me by laying
out some curriculum guidelines in advance. It enables me to plan lessons
way in advance and make changes when needed without panicking. I am so
fortunate to get to see both sides of the fence with regards to the SES
levels of each school. I am learning some great lessons about classroom
management and designing curriculum to fit the needs of the students."
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 9:16 CST
"What I learned:
High school kids will dump their cynicism if they can tell you know what
you are doing and are able to make them sound better. 1st graders can be
more trouble to deal with that 4th graders. The 4th graders have been
angels while I've had some trouble keeping the 1st graders on task. Being
one of two male teachers in an elementary school has it's discipline
advantages. It's pretty easy to get their attention.
Can I stay ahead of schedule? What happens if I write out my lesson plans
for a whole segement only to have to change something and have to totally
Why is it that I have no free time at all? I want to get all this
planning junk over with so I can teach more and worry less. "
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 6:21 CST
"I learned that while the seventh graders do not know exhuberance they do it quite
well. I must watch what words I use with them. I learned that they (seventh grade)
are a very fun group, but they can easily get off task and become quite trying. I
learned that it is possible for eighth graders to police themselves. The difference
of approach from seventh grade to eighth grade really amazes me. The fact that I
can accomplish similar goals with both classes also shows me the importance
Concerns include becoming comfortable enough to come off the podium in order to
hear what the back of the sections will sound like. Also learning 300+ names is
very important not to mention difficult.
Other comments include: size of district. The elementary school that is furthest
south is 15-20 miles from the elementary school that is furthest north. That is
quite a distance for a distrect of the size of Shawnee Heights. "
Feb 17 2002, Sunday 5:30 CST
"What I learned:
-Watch how far you use your vernacular language in class.
-Work as far ahead of schedule as you possibly can.
-Do I have energy to work as far ahead as possible?
-Am I equipped enough to teach a history course?
-Switching from 8th grade to 5th grade to 6th grade to high school
mentalities within a matter of minutes as I go from class to class.
-Wow, I can't believe that two weeks are already behind us!
-The high school kids are incredibly cool. My teacher uses them to
remind himself of why he loves his job as much as he does.
-There seems to be a great confusion with some other teachers who think
that since I am at SMW, I am there to serve as their assistant.
-I am glad I took good notes in brass class. Similarly, it is hurting
me, as expected, that I never learned saxophone.
-I am learning names really really fast. I have well over 125 names to
Feb 16 2002, Saturday 9:28 CST
-That if I am really excited about something then the kids will
automatically get really excited about it too and think that it is really
-that it is sometimes a good idea to throw out the lesson plan and do
something entirely different.
-that matching pitch and singing thirds are some of the most difficult
things for students to do.
I have a student who intentionally sings really off key in a class where
many students are struggling very hard to sing the right notes.
-It is difficult for me to win over the sixth grade class.
-some teachers here are losing their jobs because of budget cuts, I hope
that I will be able to find a job somewhere.
I really like teaching and I love being around elementary students.
Valentine's day was so much fun. I have a lot of control over the
atmosphere and the moods that the students are in by how I present new
things and by motivating them. I need to experiment more with this."
Feb 16 2002, Saturday 8:08 CST
-be as prepared as you can be. If you know what you are doing you can
teach the students. This is hard when you are thrown into something at the
last minute. It pays to pay attention to everything.
-Be flexible. Lesson plans are great, but sometimes you can't always know
what is going to happen so if you leave room to be flexible you will do
-I learned how to give a pep talk to frustrated students. A few different
students were getting discouraged with the way they were playing so I
worked with them one on one.
-This is so much fun, (I sort of knew that already!)
I am going to be starting with the Elementary kids on Monday and I will
have a ton of new name to learn and a new building, but I am looking
forward to it"
Shannon L. Williams,
Feb 15 2002, Friday 4:53 CST
"What I learned this week:
- Be flexible and happily accept new responsibilities, even at the last
- The students love it when I call them by name and ask about their most
recent game, test, etc. This eliminates many behavior issues.
- The more specific the feedback and praise, the better. Kids respond
with their trust in you as a conductor.
- Putting on a musical is REALLY hardwork! We have had eighteen hour days
everyday this week leading up to opening night (tonight!)!
My concerns for this week:
- I am honored and overwhelmed with how much Dr. Dunn is asking of me this
week, but I know that it is good for me to be able to jump in and run
rehearsal at a moment's notice.
- What if I am never able to learn the names of the kids who are average
singers and never talk out in class or do anything else to make you notice
and remember them. I have even tried talking to them before/after class,
but just cannot remember their names when the most memorable thing they do
is blend in. I may resort to photocopying pictures from the yearbook and
glueing them to my seating chart so I can memorize them that way. I only
have about 30% of the names left.
I have surprised myself with how much I am able to accomplish in
rehearsal, even with the chamber choir. My ears and diagnosing ability
I am writing early because I know that three more eighteen hour days will
wipe me out. Our musical opens tonight with the first of four
performances. I am really excited to see all the hard work pay off and to
see the kids succeed. They are really starting to have a ton of fun
onstage. If I survive, I'll let you know how it went!"
Feb 14 2002, Thursday 4:56 CST