I Live in a Mad House-You just never know!

I have known since the fourth grade that my profession would be teaching. The only detour to this plan was the type of teacher I would be. I wanted to be a teacher of handicapped children. In my childish mind anyone could teach “normal” children, I believed I had that special gift to teach special children. The name of the detour was Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. I saw the Hampton Institute Concert Choir perform while I was in the later grades of high school. One concert, and I was in love. I wanted to be on that stage one day in the worst way. The only problem was Hampton did not have a special education major. Thus my plans were changed and I majored in music. Vocal music to be exact, and it was everything I wanted it to be. I loved chorus in high school, (La Guardia High School of Music and Arts) and Hampton, under the direction of Roland Carter took my love to a new level. Upon the completion of four years, I was standing in front of my own music class. I was told: “We got rid of three teachers already, how long you gonna be here?” Not exactly the greeting I was expecting. Not one to be defeated, I stayed in that school for thirteen years, and things did get better.
In the second school things got even better. Here when you told a child to sit down, they really did it. The first time this happened I was in shock, but that subject is for another blog.
Recently I opened my old tweets, and noticed one that I did not think I had responded to. I took a chance since it was over six months old, and was delighted to receive a quick response. The tweeter was a former student from the second school. He informed me that not only had my influence had an impact on this life, but that he had become a very successful vocal music teacher in his own right. Of course that was one of the best tweets I had ever received. I estimate that over a thirty-five year career, I have taught about ten thousand students. To each one I hoped to bring a love of music. I tried to let them know that there is a world of music beyond what they hear on the radio or at the local club, or at a party. I am more than gratified to know that I made a small difference in the life of at least one of my students. This particular former student is a junior high school chorus teacher with a chorus that has been rated superior by the state in which he teaches. This old retired teacher is mighty proud. You just never know where your seeds will spread and take root. The fact that I spread them is enough.

As a postscript, I would like to add that within in past year I made contact with my former junior high school music teacher. She seemed a little disappointed that I was a teacher, she was also a former opera diva, and thought that I should have had a career  on a stage. What she failed to realize was I was on a stage for thirty-five years  with the best audience a person could have. To teach a child is to change the world.

My student's students.

My student’s students.

~ by scribe312 on March 17, 2013.

5 Responses to “I Live in a Mad House-You just never know!”

  1. My dear friend. We have been so blest to have bonded with our students and to be able to hear from them long after they have gone. Amen to you.

  2. It’s a (not so vicious) cycle, isn’t it? When you give all you know you can to something you truly believe in, you end up tired but fulfilled beyond imagination. I am completing my tenth year of teaching at the same middle school that hired me when I completed my masters degree in K-12 music in 2003. I swore I would never teach middle school, wouldn’t even waste any of my student teaching time to visit one. God has a funny way of showing you how to love something you never thought you could.

    I reckon I have another 25 years to go before I might hope to see the fruit of my labor, but I expect it’ll be worth it. And what better a fitting tribute to the teachers who helped me become who I am today.

    Thanks again, Mrs. A.

    (the guy not pictured above)

  3. I always say: Once you’ve been a teacher – f you were blessed to have enjoyed the experience – your life has forever changed. The impressions made are indelible, and there’s nothing quite like them.

  4. Oh James, it is a cycle, but a wonderful cycle. Middle schools are the worst grades so educators say, but once I got into it, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Please consider taking your children to America sings choral festivals and/or Disney magic music days. A ton of work but well worth the experience. God bless you always. A grateful teacher.
    Yvonne Augustin

  5. I could not agree more. Blessings to you.

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