Tuesday, February 9, 2010

20 pairs of eyes

Thank you so much to Kevin for sharing his impressions.

I had done my first 7 week placement, like many others, in high school band dealing with the normal high school band world activities like percussion ensemble, marching band, concert band, theory classes, and a general mentality where the world pretty much revolves around band. I have to say, I was so wrapped up in that frame of mind when starting my elementary school placement, It didn't even occur to me what exactly I was going to experience until my first day.

I walked into Mason Dixon Elementary on my first day, signed in, and was shown to the music room where Becky was getting ready for her first class. She wasn't in a rush, but was definitely concentrated on getting things set up in a particular way. To be honest, I don't really remember what we talked about for the next several minutes, but I distinctly remember the kindergarten class coming through the door. They were escorted by their teacher, walking in a straight line, hands to themselves, very quiet, and ridiculously small! They came in and sat on the floor and unlike high school, they simply looked to the teacher for what to do next. Becky softly greeted them and introduced me and explained that I would be with them, helping, teaching, learning, for the next couple months and then quickly got them into a circle to play the name game. I joined in the circle with at least 20 pairs of eyes fixed on my every move. We completed the game and went through everyones name, including mine, with an accompanying movement and by this point I was feeling extremely uncomfortable as I wasn't used to being stared at. We then moved to a movement / interpretation exercise set to music in which we had to act out different sounds and I kept thinking how much I felt like a giant and was afraid of bumping into any of the kids. And of course, they never stopped looking at me! Next, we sat back down in a circle while the next activity was being explained and (while I was being closely watched) a boy sitting right next to me tapped me on the should and asked if I could tie his shoe. I shook my head yes and quickly tied his shoe, not thinking anything of it. As soon as I tied it and look up, without saying a word, another girl on the opposite side of the circle untied her shoe, stood up, walked over to me, and held her shoe out for me to tie too!

Now, I didn't think much of this at first, but actually that one silly, innocent action instantly took away my uneasiness and made me feel more comfortable in elementary school. Unlike high school, where the kids have very active social lives and numerous other influences, these kids, who have only been alive as long as you've been in college, want to hear what you have to say, how you act, how you react, how you sing, and most of all, they want to trust you and look up to you! After that, I wasn't really afraid to sing in my "high voice", or dance, or act, or pretend.

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