Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment: Yes, There Are Dumb Questions


I'm still not sure what this kid was thinking, but this quick story needs a little bit of set up:

1. The UK Fight Song is my cell phone ring tone and it is a lively march, much like any college fight song.

2. The kid involved in this story makes these types of odd statements frequently.

During class today, my cell phone went off. I normally turn it off during school, but apparently I had forgotten to do so. As the University of Kentucky fight song played, I stopped my lesson and stared down at my pocket. The other students giggled as I got my phone out to turn it off.

After I shut off the ringer, a tuba player in the back raised his hand and asked "Was that the American Flag?"

Yeah...my reaction was about the same.

After the synapses in my brain untangled themselves, I explained that it was the University of Kentucky Fight Song, which is a piece of music and not a tangible object. 

Sometimes, there are lessons to teach that come up outside of our subject areas....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment.


Yes, I know that I haven't written in a long time. I tend to write more when I'm stressed, and my lack of writing probably has a lot to do with the fact that things are going much better, lately.

HOWEVER, I do miss writing and making some of you laugh (either with me or at me) or think, so I decided to start a new series in the tradition of "Another Amazing Nick Story." These entries will be for when I don't have time to write a lot, but just feel like putting something out there.

A perfect opportunity for this is the many random, confusing, and inadvertently humorous things that middle school kids do and say.

When I tell people that I teach middle school, they often look at me as though I am dying of a rare disease and try to comfort me. While I will be the first to admit that it can be a difficult age to teach, I think that it is the best one--especially for music! You are teaching kids HOW to actually play their instruments and to begin to really make music. You are also guiding them through some tough years where they need all the guidance, support, and encouragement that they can get.

And of course, you get to laugh at all the stupid things they say and do...and their incredible lack of coordination and social skills. And with that long introduction, here is the first in a new series. This one just happened today:

Middle School Student (who is very smart and an All-Region Honor Band member): Mr. N, I need to ask you something.

Me: What is it?

Middle School Student: Well, I asked my science teacher if she played an instrument, and she told me that she played the radio.

Me <chuckling>: Okay...so what's your question?

Middle School Student: Mr. N, what is "The Radio?"