Rant of a music teacher

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by tpter1, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Northern New York
    Ok. I got this e-mail today from a CSE (commitee on special education for those who don't know the lingo) person, asking for "input from all grade levels and specials". Every time I hear or read that term, I begin to quiver with anger. Specials meaning music, art, pe, foreign language, technology...you know, all those things that are really the important things in human life.

    I take deep offense to being labelled a "special" area subject. The term to me implies "extra; you don't really need that". After listening to Geroge pat himself on the back last night about "No Child Left Behind" and forget that there is more to life than reading and writing (yes, I'm doing that now), this e-mail came. It's purpose is innocent enough; soliciting input for the hiring of a position from all stakeholders; however, we lost one music position last year in budget cuts, still have ALL of out athletic programs, thank you, and are bringing back a 12:1:1 position and students at a huge cost to the district.

    I have mentioned on numerous occasions to the powers in the white tower that terminology IS important. Music is special, yes, but should not be labelled in a manner that puts it outside the mainstream of study. Why is this? Maybe one reason is thhat it is not assessed in any mandated form by states. What gets assessed or tested is, in the eyes of the public, important. It must be, right? Who puts the pressure on the schools if Johnny does not fully appreciate why Beethoven was great or what relevance The Rite of Spring has to modern music or what any of that says about humanity? Why does little Joey not understand how important it is to be on time with what he needs in his hands or how others count on him to perform his job? But they can both hit a ball anndd run fast; they can even spell it...: "I hit a bhall and no how too play muzik on my raydeeo". Yup....NCLB works great, George. :soap: :x

    Hey Manny...did I read that there was going to be a 2nd position open there soon? If I start practicing now will you give TM-ers a break and let them audition? :huh: Or maybe I could just hold mutes...
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    I feel for ya, George. Here in Alberta there is a movement to make at least one fine arts course a mandatory requirement for graduation from H.S. It likely doesn't have a snowball's chance in he!! but at least there are some folks willing to draw a line.

    Having gone through on a 100% technical program ("Fine arts? Oh.... you mean those sissy things like Drama and Music?") I now rue that I didn't take advantage of the opportunity to get involved in stuff like "the Arts". I see what it's done for my kids' educations.

    I know which way I'll vote if it comes to a plebiscite!
     
  3. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson Piano User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    arkansas
    fine arts are required for graduation in arkansas. the search is on for more elementary music & art teachers beacause of an ordered increase in instrucional time provided by specialists in the schools.
    the current gov. established a program to collect, repair, and give used instruments to school kids who cannot afford the equipment. there is also a 'governor's award for excellence in music' neat medal, neck ribbon, & certificate for a graduating senior in each high school....free.
    our state education department does some goofy things, but they're helping music ed. a bit.

    dj
     
  4. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Northern New York
    Thanks for the supportive posts, guys. I was feeling pretty frustrated at the time.

    I just came back last night from our solo festival (so it was all of my best students) and boy was that rewarding. Even though one of the judges was not very nice at all (there are positive ways of telling someone that they need to improve their articulation), they really seemed to be able to let that roll off and focus on the important aspect of the festival.

    Their attitudes and overall performances make it all worthwhile. There is no utopia, I guess.

    Hey Toots...George? :?: Heh...reminds me of a story...when I first started at the school I'm at now one of the custodians mistakenly called me Gary. Didn't know my name, and thought that was it, I guess. I was too shy to correct him, so he went a few weeks of calling me that. He must have said it to a secretary, because he found out my name, and to this day still slips in a "Gary" once in a while (tauntingly, but humorously) just to remind me that I should have corrected him before his embarassment.

    Sounds like things are looking up in some areas, anyway!
     
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Ahh, what's in a name anyway? :dontknow:

    :oops: sorry, Glenn. I must have read something that stuck with respect to your name. I will do penance by wiping the snow (fresh) off the car this morning.
     
  6. Lazorphaze

    Lazorphaze Piano User

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    Feb 3, 2004
    My coach said my last name wrong the first day of practice, and now it's stuck with me. Almost everyone calls me Striker.
     
  7. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
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    Northern New York
    Oof...fresh snow on April 30....that's penance enough, I think!
     
  8. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    There is a negative effect to having a fine art credit mandatory.

    My high school's choral program is a JOKE. Just an easy way for people to get credit. Its a sick, sick, deranged perversion of music. I actually thought I would learn something when I took that class.... :x

    "Solfege? Isn't that that thar DOH, a duur?"

    That was actually said in class. People laughed at that remark, and that showing of sheer ignorance still sticks with me today. Most people my age today don't appreciate music unless a woman in a skirt or short pants is bouncing her rear end to the bass beats, with a cadillac beside her.

    Van
     
  9. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson Piano User

    366
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    Nov 2, 2003
    arkansas
    the problem i have encountered is that other increases in graduation requirements make it difficult (unless the district can afford increased staff in other disciplines) to train a student all the way from grades 7 - 12.
    if you only have one section of calculus & it meets the same hour as band...crap!! there go a few smart kids. as far as joke choir, that is a sad state of affairs. things are weaker for me than before as far as select students, but the not-so-good ones have responded well to comprehending intonation & tone quality. hard to keep it in their mind though...i approach it as though we're studying a new language.

    dj
     
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
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    Northern New York
    H2K- I agree that performing groups should not be mandatory. They should be electives.

    The problem I find is that even though we require 1/2 credit of music or fine art in hs, it is not really consistent with other courses offered. There is no state exam in music that is required.

    I feel a bit as though it's like thanksgiving. Math, social studies, english, science, french or spanish all sit at the big table and can serve themselves as much of whatever they want. We are at the little table with our Clifford plates and cups, and have to ask for more gravy. Just to make us feel like we can help ourselves, we can butter or salt our food as we want, but to really have control...no. We don't. See? The way to the big table is, unfortunately, assessment.

    According to boards of education, parents, and administration, what gets the attention and the priority is anything that can be cause for pressure from the state. (A result of NCLB). (We in NY are required to publish and make known our "School Report Card"...a report of how our students did on state asessments as compared to other schools. NOWHERE on that report card is arts or music). We are "special". Not a "core" area. What does that imply? Why? No assessment. (No, I don't want the state breathing down my back; I just want fair treatment so Johnny can take AP calc and still be in band; and to be looked at as equal with math and science, as music was to the ancient Greeks).

    Sorry that took so long.
     

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