My first order of business today is to wish my amazing husband Rich a very Happy Birthday!!
He is 46 years old today and really doesn’t like birthdays all that much. I love birthdays, for one they are better than the alternative, and what an amazing time to celebrate another year of life!! I have been married to him for 3 birthdays and I am determined to make him love birthdays. He has given me so much and I am blessed to have shared these years with him.
So Happy Birthday! The girls and I have lots of fun things planned so hurry home, but drive safely!!
If you are a regular blog reader you know that my big worry when I started this blog was not finding a teaching job for the fall. In Iowa, where I grew up and did my undergrad, you needed a Masters degree to teach in high school. I didn’t know any high school choir directors in Iowa who didn’t have one. So when I finished my undergrad I went off to get my Masters degree. I learned so much about myself and my craft by doing, so that I never once have regretted that decision.
California is another story completely. As I searched for a public school job I found that most high schools and middle schools didn’t want that Masters degree. It meant they had to start you higher on the pay grid. They would rather get a good music teacher right out of college and pay them…well…squat and have them work towards their Masters in the hopes that they never get it. Arts education in California doesn’t seem to be all that important. Again this in my experience in this particular job search. Some jobs I applied for flat out told me I was overqualified and some jobs didn’t even call.
CHAMPS a public school with a very limited budget, proved to me that they were serious about wanting to give their choral students a good education with the best teacher the could find regardless of her degrees. The administration and my new co-workers have made me feel appreciated and supported, and I haven’t really even started yet. It is evident that that arts education is important to this group of people and that, contrary to some beliefs, arts education is not a privilege but a right.
I promise I am taking this opportunity very seriously.
I got to see my room yesterday. My new colleague drove, yet again, to help me out. I know that I am going to be leaning on her quite a bit and I am very thankful she is willing to be leaned upon.
Here are some pictures I took.
I sent them off to my husband with a note telling him that I would need him to buy a new drill (our very old one petered out on the fence project) as I want lots of things moved. He responded with “me like new drill” (home improvement style) and the room looks great.
He was right, the room is great. Really great. Nice live acoustics, very big, and most importantly it is our very own space.
I then started to panic.
There is no choral music…not a lick.
There wasn’t any chairs which meant these students would do a lot of standing (something I whole heartedly agree with but maybe they wouldn’t)
There isn’t a printer for a computer which makes the no music thing a bigger issue.
There isn’t a piano.
There isn’t choir folders or a place to put them.
I worried about paper and pencils and dry erase markers and printer ink and sound systems.
The reason I worried about these things really had nothing to do with me and my wants it had to do with those 75 kids or so who were waiting for great things to happen in this room.
I very guiltily handed my new co-worker my wish list budget. I felt guilty because they have already given me and these kids so much…a chance.
I don’t want to ask for anything else, but I am a teacher on a teacher’s salary. I need to ask for just a bit more.
I sent the pictures to a good friend of mine with all of my worries attached. One of his first responses to me was “Slow down there, tiger”.
He then preceded to remind me that it is all about perspective and asking “the village” for help.
Asking for help?? Perspective??
It takes a really good friend to be able to throw your own words back at you so easily. But it takes a better friend to help you figure out just how you are going to do it and that you are worth a little help.
So after the friendly slap in the face I looked at those pictures again with a new perspective.
I now see beautiful built in shelves that will house all of my books that I will diligently use to build this program, and white boards just waiting to be filled. I see a filing cabinet just aching to house all the music, I will get.
I see a space for a piano and a corner for me and my desk. I can envision a printer and paper and cartridges and spending many hours creating materials that will enhance this program. I see a space music folders, in crates until I can buy a proper cabinet.
Most importantly I see risers that will soon be full of kids. Kids with so much potential. Kids who will be the backbone and the recipients of this program I will create. Kids who will give me so much joy and purpose.
I have always preached that it takes a village to do produce great kids. I have found the kids I just now need the village.
I have found many great sites like Donors Choose that will help me ask the village. My schools website has a way to do the same with tax deductible ways to help.
I am going to ask for help. With little stuff like paper and pencils and with big stuff like pianos, cabinets, and printers.
Thank you CHAMPS for your commitment to giving arts to these kids. I am going to do my part to help you do that.
Even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.