Friday, March 20, 2009

A week on

Friday and I am feeling on top of more than I did this time last week.

Year 8 correction completed. (all four classes)

Year 9 correction completed. (only the one class)

Year 12 almost finished but the answer sheets for their homework done.

Choir rehearsal reasonable on Wednesday.

Singing rehearsal with the girl for the production - good! the cabaret singers - excellent in their separate times. I even squeezed in my lunch......being prepared is an excellent thing. I need to do it more often in other areas of my teaching and general life.

In amongst all of this I had a student drop my subject in year 12. The actual thought of him dropping the subject didn't worry me in the slightest. It was the way it happened that concerned me.

This particular boy is quite unique. He enjoys performance but doesn't really like to be criticised.

Herein lies the dilemma. He was doing a performance based subject where 50% of the overall mark comes from one single 20-25 minute performance. My job is to prepare the kids for this performance.

I feel that I walk a very fine line between cotton-balling these kids and speaking the honest truth. Every kid who gets up to perform is a beginner. They are in my room because they have a passion for music in some form. I watch their body language and face expressions to see where they are in terms of their self esteem. Sometimes I get it right and say the thing they need to hear and then there are the days when I step too far and I am too cutting.

I try to praise what I see - but there are days when the kids haven't really prepared themselves. They try to kid me, and themselves, that they have. I try to be positive but sometimes there ain't nothing I can say except "Well done. You got up and performed." That can be it and that sounds so bitchy!

Then I have the situation where a kid does an amazing performance - and it is the beginning of the year - and I need to say "fabulous" but I also need to keep telling them to improve - and sometimes I scratch my head and think "but what?"

So, back to this young man. One day he is completing the set work - one of the few who have handed in their technical work lists and other tasks - the next day he is not in the room. I received no notification that he was gone. An email would've been great.

I saw him after Choir rehearsal and asked him what was going on. He was hesitant at first to tell me but then told me what was concerning him. Nothing he told me was really a surprise. He has been threatening to drop music since the end of year 9.

His major issue was I NEVER said anything positive. I disagreed with that. I didn't really couch it well. All he heard was negative and NO positive. What I said was a little positive and some negative. At first I thought it was just me and I was concerned then he came out with a few statements that gave me an "Aha" moment.

He told me that last year he had another music teacher who was just as critical and was going to drop the subject two times........

He believes that the whole course is ridiculous - I may agree in some areas - and therefore didn't want to lose his passion for performance.

I asked him if he had spoken to anyone regarding his decision. He told me he had only spoken to the coordinators but he hadn't told them exactly what he told me. He had said to them that the subject is something he needs and he has already completed a year 12 subject the year before.

What concerns me is the fact that he had a lot of pent up emotion and had not discussed it with anyone before I confronted him about it. He vented a lot with me. It should have been someone else who had nothing to do with the subject. It should have happened before he made his decision. I wouldn't have changed his mind but we could have cleared the air and he might have been a little happier.

1 comment:

Frogdancer said...

Now I'm curious....

i'll have to ask Tom who dropped it.

Oh hell.... it wasn't Tom, was it?????