Year Two Recap

As the school year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting back on this year and looking forward to the next one – as all teachers do.  Year Two really does seem to have flown by in a very different kind of blur than Year One did.  Several things about this school year have been prominently different for me, and pretty much all of them have been beneficial for me and my program.

Calvin Friends

The most drastic change in my second year of teaching is that all of a sudden, I had friends my age that were actually available to hang out.  I can’t even describe how frustrating and infuriating it was my first year of teaching when I tried reaching out to people who lived near me who simply would not reciprocate friendship.  Nice enough people, but also completely unavailable to be real friends.  Even though I always have Tyler as my rock, not having friends to process work and life with was incredibly difficult for me.  This year, a whole slew of twenty-something musicians and music teachers have moved to the area and a couple of them actually enjoy (and make time for) hanging out with us.  One moved five blocks away from our house and the other is actually staying with us for a few weeks until they find their own place.  I hardly have words to describe how much of a difference it makes to be able to really process aloud with a music teacher friend who understands.  Now that I have a support network out here, I no longer feel alone and stranded.

Clarinet Recital

Additionally, I made the decision to start performing again.  I performed the first movement of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in a concerto competition in March.  I sang in two concerts so far with a community choir  and will play with a local orchestra in their summer pops concert.  I also started playing and singing with a new big band which has some exciting gigs coming up this summer with music that I really love to play and sing.  The deal I made with myself was this – if I was going to commit time (a precious commodity) to rehearsing and performing with an ensemble, it has to be something that is fun and rewarding.  I’m honestly not 100% that I’ll continue to perform with both groups as I enter my 3rd year of teaching.  I do love making music with others and I especially love being in a rehearsal where I don’t have to be the boss.  But the commitment of being in two rehearsals per week (one of which is a 45 minute drive away and on a school night) is making me reconsider whether I can maintain this schedule.  But regardless, I know I will continue to be a member of ensembles where I simply get to enjoy making music again.  And I hope I can continue to do that throughout my career.

UHS Room 4

A note left by a student at the end of last year

The biggest difference in my work life this year has been me settling into myself as a teacher. Last year, I was timid (I know, right?  Me?).  I didn’t tell my friends when my concerts were because I was worried that they would hear my kids and think they were terrible.  I didn’t take them to contest and I didn’t want anyone to come to work with my kids.  What if they weren’t good enough and thought I was a terrible teacher?  My kids played alright, but there was still the transition of “She’s the new director” that we had to go through as a music program.  I got through the first year, but wasn’t sure of myself at all.

UHS Room 1

High school band room right before my second year of teaching, with some new updates

Viking Woman

Me playing drum kit at a football game in the legit viking helmet

Second year, I am not so timid.  I am no longer worried about telling kids off in the hallway that aren’t in the music department.  I always tell my friends when my concerts are.  I wear a viking helmet to football games.  I’m rarely hesitant to tell a “Butler Story,” as they are known to my kids, to give them some insight to who I am as a person (as well as a chop break mid-rehearsal).  I’m never afraid to be my goofy, ridiculous self with my ensembles.  When it came time for us to host a small school band festival this week, my kids (both middle school and high school) didn’t even remotely hesitate when I told them that I needed their help to make the day a success.  Some came early.  Others stayed late.  As I was on my way to move tons of percussion equipment I had eight separate kids cheerily volunteer to help me haul things.  They are my kids, without a doubt.  If I help them understand how important something is, they will go to the ends of the earth to make it happen.  They see me staying late, hauling equipment, and taking care of what needs to be done and they reflect it.  As much as my kids reflect some things of me that I don’t always love, they also reflect some of the things that make me great.  And that makes them great.  And I couldn’t be more pleased that those things carry over, too.

 Here’s the summary:  I’m really happy with how things are going here.  Last year, I really wasn’t sure how long I would be in a job that was 6-12.  Honestly, we really don’t know how long Hermiston will be our home.  But what I can tell you is this – we love our jobs.  I see so much incredible potential here in this program.  The longer I’m here, the better the kids play and sing.  I really want to keep working like crazy and see just how great they can be.  Year two has reaped so many incredible results.  Not as many musical successes as I would like – but the kids and I are showing our true colors, and I love what I see.  Music is a great place to be again.  And I just can’t wait to see what the future brings for us!

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