Did you miss me? I don't expect an answer to that as I might not like the answer.
Tuesday night I got my hearing checked. (What's that you say?) I found out that my hearing is still in the normal range and that I have no real loss at the moment. I was stoked. I have been practising as a musician for the last 25 years of my life and I have seen a lot of VERY LOUD bands. I was concerned that I might have lost the outer ranges of my hearing and I would be devastated if that was the case.
Once my hearing was checked I got fitted for 'musician earplugs'. That was a fun process. The audiologist got a piece of foam on string, cut it down to size and then inserted it into my ear canals. She then mixed two putties together which causes a chemical reaction that makes it set. She injected that into the canals and I sat there unable to hear a thing while it set. Five minutes later she withdrew the now set putty using the string. The feel was weird but the relief to be able to hear again was brilliant.
The audiologist was excited about the depth she got into my ear - the deep she is able to go the better for me and the plugs I will get made. We then had a quick discussion about the dB I would be getting cut down. Her recommendation is 25dB (the maximum) as I work with 70+ untrained musicians in a hard acoustic space. Each child has an instrument (brass, woodwind and percussion) and it is very noisy. If I find it too hard I have a week to decide and change to a lower level.
I thoroughly recommend that everyone gets their hearing checked and look at preventative measures to keep what they have.
Update on the student teacher - he is improving still. He has now realised that I have a huge impact on the classes that I teach. I was absent yesterday and the year 8s went VERY silly on him. They were not rioting but it was enough for him to feel frustrated, ineffectual and basically out of control.
Today we unpacked the situation and I have set a very strong structure to how I want him to teach his classes - right from the first moment he walks up to the class to the time he lets them go. I am being a pedant over it and told him so but the idea, as I explained, is that the kids need strong structure to be able to be creative. I also explained that the sense of success that he will have with a strong set of guidelines is unbelievable.
I asked him to compare this thought process to what would happen with either improvisation or composition. There are strong guidelines and rules that are required for either - break them and you fall flat on your face. If you do break them, know why. I think he is starting to see what I am talking about. Today was the first day that he took notes in a meeting I had with him. HALLELUJAH!
One of his student teacher colleagues (not the one from the other week who had the 'conversation' with him) asked to see me teach. Once I got going in my lesson he was helpful with the kids and then quizzed me on why I did what I did. It was bizarre after my student. He told me that he wanted to see me teach as my approach in the staffroom led him to believe that I was a 'tough nut'. I pushed for a reason why. He said that the way I treat my student teacher was displaying a no-nonsense approach. He wanted to see this in the classroom but when he saw me work with the kids he felt a little disappointed.
I know the reason for this - my student teacher behaved like a dickhead and I am treating him with respect but that I will not tolerate any disrespect from him. I have to be rather tough with him. My students already KNOW that I can be quite tough if I have to be and that I will treat all others with respect. They understand the concept of 'shit me, I shit you'. It works like a charm. This guy who watched me teach today was surprised it didn't come up in the staffroom. He was also amazed by the discussion I had with them about to do group work or not.......Go figure.