At the end of my senior year in high school, I spent my time creating little posters for every single person in my choir program, each adorned with everyone’s name in cute little font and dots and colorful paper. Why did I spend my time making 100+ posters? I don’t know. I love choir and people writing loving messages to one another and spreading positivity and other nice things, but that isn’t the point of this post.
My senior year, I was the Student Option for the Beginning Women’s Chorus—a Student Option is basically like a TA (teacher’s assistant)—and so obviously my students wrote on my poster as well as all over my yearbook (all the people who were student options aka 4 of us had to get a second poster haha—so many students!) I was reading over all their comments and I don’t know, my insides just felt all tingly. Is that weird? I’d like to think it isn’t.
When you get to read your own students write things like “you inspire me to work hard” or “you’ve taught me to never give up on my dreams” or “you showed me just how much fun music and choir can be” or “I was going to quit choir, but then you showed me how exciting it is”, well you get a little emotional. Because that was me four years ago. Four years ago, my student option inspired me and kept me from quitting choir (well, the plan was to defer for just my sophomore year but obviously that changed) and taught me how exciting the world of music is. Four years later, I find myself in the other shoes and I can’t be any more ecstatic. Obviously yes I love that my students adore me because duh who doesn’t want to be adored (imagine a hair flip happening now!), but as a teacher, all you could ever want is to see your students grow and learn to be ambitious and find joy in the things you’ve tried to teach them. As a teacher, you give them everything you’ve got, everything you’ve learned, everything you love, just so that they can grow into their own people and find their own way. To know you’ve got a part in something like that, that’s a big enough reward that I’ll be smiling back at the memories for decades.
After four long years of hard work and dedication to my high school choir program, my students showed me that none of that work was for nothing. All of that went toward a cause, a small one, but a cause no less. These students got the experience of music education, they were given the opportunity to experience the joy of music, and now they’re willing to fight for that same cause in their journey throughout high school. They too want to ensure that everyone has the right to an education in music and the opportunity to just enjoy music in school. To see the look of excitement for the years to come etched on their faces, I just know that all the time and energy I put in the music department went to something. I didn’t have to do any of that, but I did it anyway. Somewhere in myself I knew I had to and there was not escaping that. I hope that I’ve made their first year a joyous one and that they will strive to do the same for future students in our high school program. I hope that even if they don’t have my exact goals in mind, that they can look back at the times we’ve had and enjoy their time in choir and smile fondly at the memories. I hope they can make the best of friends that I have made in my time there.
Students are an immeasurable amount of joy if you’re willing to put your heart and soul towards them. You won’t receive as much gratitude if you don’t give them your all.
August 26 2015