Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post!

Here's a re-cap of what happened at the end of December - Post Nutcracker...

We were one of those "fortunate" schools that got to stay on until the 22nd of December entitling us to one heck of a long winter break - we didn't have to go back until the 9th of January!!! In that last week of school I had been warned not to schedule anything as the week would be taken over with rehearsals. As if by sheer coincidence (not) my plan book was virtually empty for that last week of school. Don't get me wrong, I had a million things I wanted my kids to do, I just didn't have anything written in concrete (pen) or even in sand (pencil) since, let's face it, I have had enough of the arrows pointing to all different places of the plan book because things don't always go as planned at my school!

The music teacher informed me that she was really happy I knew how to sing and could read music (to conduct) because she was blessed with the daunting task of making sure 150 students could sing Greek Christmas GREEK! Mornings were filled with rehearsals for the Greek songs followed by a ten minute (or less) time slot for my kids to walk up, get on stage, sing their tunes (a Capella) and get off stage. The first day I may not have planned anything in the morning but my afternoon was very full with math tests and science tests - both which I allotted time to review as a class - only to be asked (read - TOLD) to lead my class to the auditorium for more Greek song practice. 'But my kids NEED this review!' I thought. But remember dear fans, I am but a novice teacher. Of course I brought my kids to the auditorium for practice. And they were actually very good about getting on and off stage - despite complaints of having to stand all read right, they complained about having to stand on their feet!

Tuesday's rehearsals went better (and were shorter) so I filled the time making the parent gifts (will talk about this in next blog) and cards which were sabotaged by aftercare (accidentally)when someone spilled their water on the cards. All the hard work, down the drain...

Wednesday was THE day...My kids got to finally hear a live piano and flute for their song, "Somewhere in my Memory" - yes, the one from Home Alone 2. They were a bit taken aback because it really did sound lovely. I forgot to bring my cello the day before (I didn't know where I was going to store it safely since I was spending the night in the city) so I was relieved when the music teacher said she would play her flute so I could conduct my kids. Rehearsals in the morning finally allowed the kids to watch each other perform. This was both a good and bad idea. Good because, let's face it, they weren't going to get to watch the show anyway; and bad because, let's face it, my kids can't just be a willing audience - except, apparently, at the Nutcracker. The thought the first graders were cute with their "two front teeth" song and they were mesmerized by the fourth graders who danced (I can't believe their teacher had the energy to choreograph a number!) to Madonna's Holiday. Of course, it was the dancing that got my kids riled up and I had to whisk them back to our classroom.

Horrible teacher that I am I made my kids take their science test on Wednesday (to calm their nerves) - I knew they studied for it so I wasn't worried. We practiced our songs one more time before I sent them home for two hours only to come back and be ready to wait until it was our turn to walk to the hallway leading to the doors to the stage.

Daniel came by after school thanks to my mom. He got to hang out with the kids who couldn't be dragged out of school because they all adore him. He was bombarded with questions upon his arrival - Did you know about the new planets they think they discovered? Do you remember when we drew tornadoes on the board? How many planets are there again? What are you reading about now? He took it all in stride though and answered the questions patiently while trying to draw on the board.

I sent Daniel off with a mom who was going to watch the show - after I changed him into nicer clothes - let's just say he matched my kids, and could very well have gone up there to sing the Christmas Alphabet because he's as tall as some of them! Meanwhile I fed my kids doughnut holes and gave them bottles of water to keep them hydrated while waiting our turn. I played games with them while we were in line to keep them silent - which failed. I don't understand how "Silence in the Court or the monkey will talk" works so well with my nephews and nieces - no one wants to actually be the monkey - but how it didn't work. At. ALL! with my students because each one thought it was COOL to be the monkey!

The show went off without a hitch! Woo hoo! Novice teacher scored again! The parents had never heard the "Christmas Alphabet" until their kids began to take the music home to practice - thankfully it's like catching an ear worm and the kids were singing it endlessly. They were impressed by how well "Somewhere in my Memory" went - it's a pretty complex song if you do the parts, which we didn't - and more importantly, how beautiful and melodic it sounded coming from their little angels.

It seemed anti-climactic but the kids had to come to school the next day. I was down 2 kids whose parents thought it was ridiculous - and exhausting - to come to school for a few hours. We had a long-ish church service and a low key "party" where we colored pictures of trees and Santa, played Christmas hang man, and listened to the Nutcracker songs as well as whatever Christmas tunes the kids liked while I played DJ and the kids noshed on treats and hot chocolate. We took the stockings down one by one and the kids got to go home to enjoy their Christmas break. I on the other hand stayed to clean my room because there was actually NIGHT school!

I'm exhausted just reading this! Tune in next time for first day back antics!
The Novice Teacher

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