Howdy everyone! I took a much needed break, but I am back with my newest and latest blog. I hope you enjoy it.
When I first started out teaching at Bonita Vista High School, I was in awe of two of my English colleagues -- Ann Ransburg and Joy Sobel. They were veteran teachers who brought passion and creativity to the classroom every day. Not only did they have high expectations, but they were known to be two of the most caring teachers on campus. I consistently sought their advice. I will never forget the moment that I realized that teaching is truly a lifelong endeavor. One day I ran into an overly exuberant Joy in her classroom. She was beaming. I asked her what was up and I will never forget what she said. "You know Rick, I think I am getting this teaching thing!" I sat there in disbelief. Here was a veteran teacher of over 25 years telling a new teacher that she was finally understanding how to teach. Now, 20 years later... I understand.
One of the "strangest" mixtapes I made consisted of nothing but music from movies and classical composers. It was only strange, because most people did not figure me for a classical-music-kind-of-guy. I absolutely love it. They capture so much emotions without even a word. The songs I am going to share in this episode of Mixtape I know will bring back a lot of memories about movies or specific scenes. Joy and Ann were like that classic mixtape. Their style and dedication to student stood the test of time. They relied on the classics of teaching such as checking for understanding and reflective learning. But, yet they never resisted learning new strategies and utilizing technology. As I became a veteran teacher, I realized how important that conversation with Joy became in my life. She showed me that the classics never go out of style. She and Ann were championship-level teachers because they were committed to their growth. They complemented whatever they learned with what they knew worked well in the classroom. Going into year 20, I can say that I still don't know everything about teaching and because of that, I can appreciate what it truly means to be in education... we are lifelong learners.
Over the past year I saw some class bands, but one stood out to me... Foreigner. They are getting up there in age, but they presented their music as though it was the first time. Man... I wish I could rock at that age. There was one senior moment when the guitarist forgot the song! I could not believe how much energy they brought to the stage. I believe that the great teachers are always in style because they bring that same type of energy on a consistent basis. They strive to always bring a joy of learning to the classroom. Like the classics, you could always count on them! Here are some of my favorite classic songs that I always used in my classroom to set a mood. As you listen to the music, I hope you look around your classroom and at your routines and ask yourself, "Am I and this classroom showing up in the best possible way for students?" Will you be a classic? Think about this video below and ask yourself, "Will I be a classic?" What is your legacy going to be?
I want to invite you to consider bringing music into your classroom. There are some great articles out there about the power of music. Here are some to consider:
When I taught in the classroom, not only did I ask students to make a soundtrack of their life, I made sure our class was a living soundtrack. I used music for routines and for lessons. For example, I used to teach figurative language through music or I would compare the music of Johnny Cash with Rap Music and it always brought up lively dialogue about expectations. For mood in the classroom, I used a book called The Greenbook of Music that captured mood with songs. Today, you can use a myriad of apps. Check it out: Music and Mood. Without further ado, here are some of my topic songs for routines. Watch out... they are old school!
Mixer (kids moving): Ferris Bueller
Motivation before a test: Rocky (of course)
Celebration: Canon in D
There are so many songs and situations that you can play with. Yes... it was cheesy, but the kids always could attach the mood to the routine and I always wanted their to be joy and excitement to my class. Music was an easy way to accomplish this goal.