Oh my friends! As some of you know, I am a teacher. I am a music educator and my speciality is Music. Really, teaching music history and doing activities that strengthen other core subjects… that’s my bread and butter. That is what makes me excited. I am however, a Band teacher. Now don’t get me wrong, it has been said that, “you are a damn fine Band Director.” and I am. Teaching woodwind and brass instruments are where I got my start and discovered who I was. I will teach Band even if I teach elementary music because you have to prepare the kids for middle school. So Band is forever.
I am the second Band teacher at a larger school. We service over 600 students. Last year we had 185 students in Band alone. Now that number dropped because a lot of our kids lost their homes and families in the flood from the hurricane. It was heartbreaking. Praise God that all of our children lived. There was though, relocation of students and families. By the end of the year, we had 170 students in Band.
It is my job to teach Band. However, there’s another person there teaching Band too. Our classrooms are so small we can only have maybe 50 kids per class (Fire Marshal’s rule for our rooms). This is why they needed another Band teacher (185 divided into 4 classes and that is done unevenly because one class has 75 in it!). So there are two of us. Now I get paid in full to do this and I am not a subordinate (though I do take a step back because she’s been teacher for almost 20 years and I have… 6.) to her. There is however, some fine print. If there are not enough kids to split the band in half, so that the minimum amount of students in each class is 20 people, I have to teach music.
As stated above, I do not mind this.
What I do mind is, the chaos of beginning of the year. There are vitally important meetings at the beginning of the year. I NEED the information these meetings provide. They are EXTREMELY helpful. But I’ll be darned, I want more than 2 days to clean, organize, and set up my room.
“But Katt,” you say, “Janitors clean and move furniture. You just have to put your things out and clean instruments.”
But no my friends. Janitors maintain the cleanliness of the school. They will mop, buff, and wax your floors once or twice a year, sweep and mop, take out the trash. That is their job in your room. They may move furniture out to do the major projects and then move it back in, but after that, you’re on your own. This isn’t laziness on their part, they have the rest of the school to maintain. I TOTALLY understand that. I mean we have 50 or more classrooms plus you’ve got staff rooms and many bathrooms as well as supply orders and other areas to clean like the office. Then they are in charge of the lawn and maintaining the look of the grounds and shrubbery. They have a lot to do, all summer.
So I have been very busy, mopping, moving, cleaning, dusting, wiping down, collecting pieces etc. I have been so busy with setting up that there aren’t even any posters on my walls! Considering I don’t know how to leave any spaces blank, it’s pretty shocking.
I am thankful to say two out of my four tables that were permanently in my room have been removed. I did not do the removing, and I assume maintenance slipped in sometime this summer and did half. It looked like they were called away, asthere were some legs in a box and some on the ground and there were screws everywhere. I couldn’t just leave them, so I got permission to move them somewhere safer.
It’s so open now:
I’ve still got work to do, and students are back Monday. Luckily, we are blessed to have a principal who under the arts. She give us two extra days to get all our arts and resource class schedules created. It maybe Wednesday or Thursday when we
see our kids for the first time this year.
I also have to say my co band director is amazing. Without her, my room would be in shambles from the workers and just over the summer mess. I am very lucky she is always willing to help.
We also were blessed with a trip to School Tools. It’s like Christmas town for teachers. They’ve got all sorts of things for all sorts of classes. I came out with a few posters, pencils for prizes, bookmarks, whiteboards, a new low tech timer (hourglass), music staff board stickies, hot glue sticks… gosh, I can’t remember what else. I even got a game for my English tutoring class.
(I have the 5 minute timer. Image from School Tools)
It’s nice to get some little things to liven up the classroom. Things like the timer and flip boards, well sometimes there can be too much technology.
The theme this year is I have the magic (of learning, teaching) in me. I hope I do. I have certainly enjoyed this school year more so than the last. Even though my co director is still not allowed in her room, we made the best of it. We aren’t in possession of magic but we did have elbow grease. We moved her desk into my room, and we will be decorating the auditorium so it is more homey and less, “time to perform for 200 people.”
But I think we have some magic in us because we always make things work out. That has to be a bit magical!