I have completed the first couple of weeks of the 21-22 school year as I write this. It has been everything that the beginning of school should be: exhausting and chaotic in all of the most familiar ways.
We are far from living in a “post-pandemic” world, but at least things look more familiar than this time a year ago.
I spent my summer break thinking about scheduling performances, arranging my classroom, and learning a new way of long-term planning. Will all of this become a reality in the months ahead? I don’t know. I’ll remain flexible and open to any possibility. After all, this is only a PLAN.
I am at the beginning of my 30th year of teaching. Early in my career, I thought people who had been teaching this long had everything figured out.
No one has teaching figured out!
As lifelong learners, we are constantly striving to learn new strategies, keep up with the latest “new” thing that kids are into, and adapt to the mandates and changes implemented by our school/district/state. The most significant difference between the veteran teacher and the novice teacher is perspective.
As a veteran teacher, I know there are going to be new challenges every year. There are going to be policies or projects that I will have to adapt to. Some I will embrace, some I will be reluctant to embrace. I have learned to focus on what is most important in my classroom and not sweat the small stuff. As an elementary music educator, my main focus is to create joyful music experiences that foster heavy academic music literacy and enhance cognitive processes. When I live into that statement, any mandate, program, policy, or pandemic is manageable.
Artie Almeida is well known in general music circles. She is a fantastic educator, musician, clinician, and composer. I have attended many clinics that she has facilitated and use several of her publications in my lesson planning. She has a saying that encompasses much of what we face as we dive into a new school year with new challenges.
It’s not hard, It’s just new.
Thanks, Artie, for encapsulating this journey in a straightforward statement!