God I love music. I love everything about music. I love playing music, singing music, dancing to music. Most of all, I love listening to music. Have you ever listened to music? I mean really, really listened? I love when you hear a song for the first time and it sends chills up your spine. I love even more when you hear a song for the hundredth time and it suddenly gives you chills like never before. But there are two ways of listening to music. You can hear a song as one whole entity and have it make you feel so good that you want to repeat it thousands of times. Or you can hear each part of a song for what it’s worth; the lyrics, the melody, the solo, the bass line, etc., and appreciate the integration of each one for the purpose of creating one final product.
Teaching is like music. It’s made up of all these intricate pieces that merge together to create a final product; the learning experience of a student. When a child learns something new, he feels great; he wants to repeat it thousands of times. As a teacher, you can step back and appreciate everything you did to help that child learn: the lesson plans, the activities, the rules of the classroom, the parent meetings, the grading, the workshops, etc. The list is endless because teachers are constantly adding on to it, discovering new ways to reach their students and to create the best atmosphere for learning. That’s what teaching is all about; creating the most conducive environment for all students to be able to learn. When students receive great teaching, they sing, dance, play and listen to the music of the teacher.
My life has kind of set me up for the teaching profession in ways I never realized until recently. One would think with a teacher for a mom and father who works extensively with people who have physical and mental disabilities, I’d be a shoe-in for Special Education. But, I never even thought about it until my junior year of college. In fact, during high school the only thing that appealed to me about teaching was having my summers off (kind of a no-brainer when you live by the beach). However, in this money driven world, there has to be something personally appealing about the teaching profession for someone to go to school for five and a half years to become one. For me, it was three major experiences in my life that not only pointed me in the teaching direction, but helped me create a philosophy I live and teach by.
The first occurred during my third year of high school. Growing up in an area that is mostly middle and upper class, the school pushed students to prepare for college by taking as many advanced classes as possible; all honors classes, extra foreign languages, no lunch or study hall, etc. The competition among my classmates was high, with everyone struggling to get the best grades and keeping the highest class ranks. My education consisted mostly of memorization...