Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Kid that We Will Call Bob.

I love that app TimeHop. I love that it reminds me of some of the events of my past that I might have forgotten. I was reminded this week about at concert that I had three years ago. As I continue on in my teaching career I am finding it harder to say goodbye to my eighth grade students each year. This particular TimeHop post about my first ever Spring Concert at Sequoyah brought to mind on special young man that has left an imprint on my life.

For the purpose of this blog, we shall call this young man "Bob." "Bob" was an eighth grader my first year at Sequoyah, which also happened to be my first year teaching (there will be a post dedicated to that scary first year later). The eighth grade students that I had in class that year, had a rough time with choir in the past. I was the fifth teacher in five years at my site. So my eighth graders that had been involved in choir since they were in sixth grade had a different teacher each year. Needless to say this year was a challenge. But those students were amazing! Bob was super talented and I saw so much potential for greatness in him. He was kind, compassionate, courageous, and adventurous, He quickly became a leader in my classroom. He had some struggles in the past academically but now all of the sudden he was becoming super successful in his core classes. Any chance he had to participate in anything extra related to choir, solo and ensemble, audition for All State, OU Men's Day, he did it. Then it came time for the end of year, and time for him to leave.

He auditioned for Show Choir for what was then called South Indeterminate High School. I remember helping with auditions and seeing him, he wouldn't give up until he got that dance audition down! When I posted the list and found out that he had made it, he started to have doubts and he wanted to quit choir and not be in show choir for the next year. I told him to think long and hard about it. I told him that he has so much talent and so much potential for greatness and if he quit choir it would be the biggest regret of his life. He told me that he was scared and he was comfortable, and he didn't want to get out of his comfort zone. I encouraged him to try it one year, if he didn't like then he could quit. But he was not quitting now! He didn't quit. His life has been changed and it has been better because he had the opportunity to be in music.

He is now a junior and since I had him as an eighth grader he has gone on to be in show choir at the I-High level, this year was in Tiger Rhythm Show Choir, he was in jazz choir, he has acted in plays with Broken Arrow Public Schools in community theater, he was recognized as an outstanding Fine Arts student at his school site as a sophomore, has competed at State OSSAA Solo and Ensemble contest, and he made the OkMEA All State Mixed Chorus this year. When I was in Keller with Tiger Rhythm over the past weekend I looked on with tears as he performed a solo with such joy. "Bob" by all accounts shouldn't be college bound. But he is!!!! He talks so often about studying music and theater in college and helping other kids just like him.

There are so many other important people that played a part of his story, but I'm going to mention three. Kathy Williams, thank you for encouraging him to love poetry, write creatively, and think outside the box. Vonna Stout and Justin Rosser, thank you for loving my boy. For caring for him, for making him stronger, and encouraging him as a musician and a leader.

His story isn't over yet, He is just a junior and he as one more year in BAPS Vocal Music. I can't wait to see what "Bob" is going to do over the next year and in his future.

Some would say that I changed his life, but I say I was at the right place and the right time. If anything, he has changed my life. I always tell my eighth grade students on their last day of class to go out and make me proud. "Bob" you make me exceedingly proud every day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What.Is.Happening. Chapter Two

The amount of crazy things that happen to me on bus trips....

Tis the season for bus travels and apparently I just have a crazy magnet that is attached to me.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel with Broken Arrow High School's show choirs, Tiger Mystique, a women's show choir and Tiger Rhythm, a mixed show choir. We traveled to Keller, Texas for the Lone Star Show Choir Invitational. Both of these groups have some of my former members in them and I love traveling with these kids. However, we all know what happens to me on bus trips.

We left on a Friday afternoon, that morning that I went to work and had rehearsals with our morning classes and towards the end of the morning I started to have an onset of a cluster migraine. If you are a cluster migraine suffer you know that they are the worst things on the planet. I start out by having blurry spots in my left eye and eventually if I don't take any medicine for it, I lose vision in my left eye and my head just pounds and pounds and pounds. So as you can see this is exactly what you want to have before you get on a bus full of high school kids on your way to Texas. So took some medicine and knocked myself for a good two hours. Before I fell asleep, I snapped this lovely selfie:

Yes....I am fully aware that it looks like I'm wearing a sanitary napkin on my forehead. But let me tell you about these amazing cooling pads. So they are called Migraine Be Kool Soft Gel Sheets. They are great and work like a dream, they stay cold for up to 8 hours, and they help ease the pain. At one point I sat up on the bus and told the kids we were making a bathroom stop and one little darling pointed out so lovely, "Hey, uh Miss Loyd do you know you have something on your forehead." Kids...they are just so observant.

So I'm on a bus with a migraine. With high school students. Oh by the was raining cats and dogs. Now normally if I was driving myself to the DFW area I would take highway 75 no problem but with a bus full of kids it wouldn't make sense to take highway 75...but we did. The highway was incredibly bumpy and at times I couldn't tell if I was on a bus or an airplane. Remember I have taken some pretty awesome migraine medication and I'm a little loopy at this point. Once it started to rain harder, water started to leak in through the windows of the activity bus, so clearly I'm on a sailboat.We also made about 5 wrong was confusing. We made it to a mall in Frisco, Texas for dinner and a few hours for the kids to run around and work off some energy. All the while there are flash flood warnings, thunder storm warnings, tornado watches, and flying chicken watches. Oh Starbucks had some massive computer problem and I couldn't even get coffee. But we get the kids to the hotel, put to bed, and ready for their contest. Also at this point, my migraine is back. So I take more medicine and I go to bed. I wake up at 6:00 am and find that my phone is has blown up with notifications. I'm only popular when I'm out of town.

And it was a great day! Tiger Mystique had a great performance and I was so proud watching one of my former students perform with this group. She was a sweetheart as an eighth grader and an even bigger sweetheart today! The icing on the cake was that Tiger Rhythm won the whole dang thing!!! Please see the below meme created by the students of my friend Justin Rosser. Such a great day and it made this middle school teacher's heart happy to see her former babies being successful!! So yes some crazy things always happen to me on the bus, but they are always for a greater good.

So stay tune next time for What. Is.Happening Chapter Three-Sequoyah Middle School Choir goes to Silver Dollar City. (Heaven Help)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Have Mercy

In case you haven't heard Full House is coming back!!!! As a child of the 1990s this is some of the best news ever! Ever since the news broke yesterday that Netflix has picked up the return of Full House, my mind has been swimming in questions. Yes, I'm weird. Don't judge me.

1. Which Olsen Twin will be playing Michelle? I need to know this. As a child I was obsessed with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Sleepovers with Mary Kate and Ashley, best VHS box set ever. I wanted to be a twin just so I could be just like Mary Kate and Ashley. When Full House first started the character of Michelle was a baby, and because of child labor laws they needed twins to play one baby. As the show progressed the producers kept both girls and they switched actors for each episode. Since they are adults now it doesn't really make sense that they switch back and forth. Or if they do switch back and forth how will the make sure that it isn't noticeable? I need to know. Why? I have no idea, it has just been bugging me all day.

2. Are they still living in the same house? It is called Full House for a reason. Do all the girls and their possible families live there? Did Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky have more kids and did they stay? Did Joey leave? Did Danny get married? Is Wake Up San Francisco still a thing? Did Uncle Jesse make it into the music business? Is a Joey a famous stand up? Is Stephanie still annoying?

3. Did DJ and Steve get married? Because Steve was a "total babe".

4. Is Kimmy Gibbler still an "airhead"? She is by far one of my favorite TV characters of all time. I feel like if I could be described as any TV character, Kimmy Gibbler would be it.

5. This is the most important question...WILL JOHN STAMOS SING?!?!?! Let's be real Uncle Jesse is the real "total babe." The advances in men's fashions the V-neck shirts and tight pants will be a great sight. Side Note: John Stamos has said that he would like to date and marry a teacher. John Stamos this is for you, I live in Tulsa, OK and I'm a middle choir teacher (yay music!), I have brown hair, brown eyes, and love the Beach Boys. Come and find me. Also if anyone has the hook up with John Stamos, please help a sister out.

So for all of my fellow 90s-TGIF friends out there, we got Boy Meets World back, we are getting Full House. Next step-Family Matters.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Middle School Lyfe

So many people have asked me why do I teach middle school? Why do I love middle school so much and if I would ever leave middle school to teach high school?

I AM A MIDDLE SCHOOL KID AT HEART! I laugh at the all the corny jokes, my mind is permanently attached to the gutter, and hello my awkwardness fits right in with the middle school masses! I firmly believe that teachers teach the grades that best fit their own school mental age. I have the brain of a 7th grader.

Here just a few examples of some middle school awesomeness that I have encountered in my few years of teaching.

My first year of teaching I was in a pretty nasty car accident that resulted in my car being totaled. Since I didn't have a car, was living in a brand new city were I knew a few people, and my family was hours away, so my mom and dad drove up my grandmother's Crown Victoria. I only had the Crowny V for a week and some of my students brought me items to "pimp" my ride. Because clearly I need to drive a pimped out Crown Victoria. One young scholar informed me that he got the rims from his brother's car...the kid didn't have a brother. I made him return said items.

One time a I had a group of girls decide that they were going to go as Miss Loyd for Halloween and they all came to school wearing black dress pants, purple tank tops, and green cardigans.

One young lad one day at lunch tried to hand me a dollar and said, "Hey there sweetheart go by yourself an ice cream." (Say that in your best 1920s Gangster voice.)

Last year my 7th grade boys tried out all of their pick up lines on me first before they tried them out on "real girls" some of my favorites, "If you were a Transformer you would be called Optimus Fine." "I need to report a theft, because you have stolen my heart." "How about you and me go study some solfege."

On the crazy Frontier City trip, it was suppose to rain. My sixth graders were so worked up over the rain and freaking out about getting wet. It didn't rain. But they did ride the water rides multiple times were soaked. Sixth Grade Logic.

The humorous stories and all of the laughs are a big part of teaching middle school, but my biggest reason is simply this: their story is still being written.

I love middle school because I get to play a bigger part in their educational story. By the time they are in high school they are on the path to whatever they want to do post graduation. It has been decided and then it is just a matter of making sure everything falls into place. With middle school however I get to help write that story. They are just starting out. They maybe heading down a path that will destructive to them and to their education and with middle school we can try our best to intervene and get them where they need to be. When they are in choir in middle school they are just trying to figure out if they even like to sing, and nine times out of ten they fall in love and they are hooked. Rarely in high school choirs do just have a random kid say "hey I want to try choir" but in middle school that happens all the time. Middle school students to need feel connected to something and if they can feel connected to choir and to music than I call it a success! What I love most about my job is not the music that I teach, but it is the connections that I build with students. Having students for three years in a row is awesome! Will some of them take choir in high school? They might not, but for those three formative years of their lives they belonged to something. They were connected and engaged to a community of musicians. They learned not only how to sing, but how to be better people.

To all my elementary music teacher friends-I could never do what you do! Thank you for preparing them and loving them. Teaching them to tie their shoes, stand in circles, play Orff instruments, have play parties, and listen to Peter and Wolf.

To all my high school choir teacher friends- I could never do what you do! Thank you for caring and loving those that we send on to you. For finishing the race, and writing the final chapter in their public education career. Thank you for continuing to nurture their love of choral music.

I will never say never about wanting to teach high school choir one day, but my heart and soul is made for middle school choirs. Cheesy jokes, all the drama, and all the voice cracks. I love it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What. Is. Happening.

Today was my annual choir trip to Frontier City. This year I made some changes and took only my sixth grade choir.  I have been going to Frontier City for four years now, and each year has it's own unique set of challenges and quirky moments. When I say quirky moments, please know that I mean these moments are "what the heck, did that just happen moments?' Let's review the previous years quirky moments:

2012-The Bus Driver misses the exit and proceeds to back up on the highway.The bus being in reverse for more than 10 minutes, completely shuts down.

2013-A kid gets stuck on top of the Farris Wheel when it breaks down and is up in the air for 40 minutes. The kid,thinking it was funny,starting telling knock knock jokes to the entire park.

2014-My students fell in" love" with each other, started dating at the beginning of the day and broke up when we got off the bus.

2015-ALL OF THE ABOVE!!! Well...sort of.

Let's start with the bus. My first red flag was when the bus driver got lost trying to find the Creek Turnpike. In Broken Arrow. He got lost while turning out of the parking lot. Oh My Stars. I have had threats of students vomiting on the the bus before on previous trips, but it never happened. Until today. When we were lost again,,,so here I am yelling directions at the bus driver while I have a kid vomiting into a trash can. I ask the poor baby if everything was okay, chalked it up to car sickness and everything was fine after that. We finally make to our performance location and we are running late because of all of the lost problems and the bodily fluids. But we clean up and go inside and do our thing (which was AWESOME)! We get back on the bus, and guess what? We get lost again!! I knew our location the entire time. When you are supposed to go south, go south not north. We get to the park and I think we are out of the clear. Until I get a text from the driver that he might have locked the keys in the bus. At this point, I'm dealing with another issue (see below) and I'm just like whatever. I text my assistant principal and tell him about me experience thus far and his response was "What.Is.Happening." Hence this post title. It is best way to sum up everything at this point. (Woot Woot Ashley Bowser.)

Earlier in the day, a group of my students had the great privilege of being the first people to ride the Diamondback for the day. After it's first run, it breaks down. With two of my students still on it. There they are feet away from getting back to the carriage house and they are stuck on a broken roller coaster for an hour!! I dread parent phone calls anyways, I'm sure that would be fun phone call. "Hello Mister and Mrs. SoSo, first off I just want to say I love your child (always start with a positive) but I just wanted to let you know that your child is stuck on a roller coaster." The problem is fix and the kids get off the roller coaster. Only to get back in line to ride it again. What?!?!

Sixth grade love was in the air. Middle School Romance is gross and weird.

But despite all of this craziness. We had a blast! We earned Superior ratings and Outstanding Achievement awards. Plus one of my sweet girls won an Outstanding Musicianship Award for her overall stage presence. They behaved like a dream and I had the best parent support! I ran into a lot of really great friends that I don't get to see that much, rode a water ride, and the train.  And it didn't rain! A sixth grade only trip to Frontier City was the best idea I have ever had. Such a great day!!!

BTW...the keys. In the driver's pockets the entire time. FOR THE LOVE.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why "For the Love"

For the love. This is a phrase that I say a lot, sometimes it is out of excitement-like when Josh's Sno Cones opens up for the summer! Sometimes it is out of frustration-like when I create an Instagram account for my Vocal Music program and my students post Emojis and have full length conversations in the comment sections.Kids these days. Sometimes it is out of humor-like when I accidentally drop my underwear on the floor of a QuikTrip (long but funny story). Sometimes it is out of sadness-like when I see family hurting, friends in pain, students having to grow up way to fast, educators at the end of their rope, and a broken world that just needs Jesus. 

Love is such a powerful word. At the root of love is a relationship. Every time I utter the phrase "For the Love" it is out of an interaction with someone that I have a relationship with, even with the sno cone guy. 

For the Love of Family-My family is amazing. My dad works tirelessly to support his family and his community. My mom works full time and cares for her elderly mother. My brothers are simply the best.But I suck at being a daughter and a sister. I moved two hours away and I don't visit enough or call. This is something that I have to fix, because at the end of the day my family will always be there. 

For the Love of Friends-Like I mentioned before, I moved away from my family. My friends are a family away from my family. Life without them would be boring.

For the Love of Students-I love building connections! I get to teach some of my students for three years, in those three years I really get to know them. That is what I love most about teaching middle school. I get to build those relationships and help write their educational experience. They are game changing kids. 

For the Love of Colleagues-I work at a school with some of the best teachers and staff ever! We love each other, we support each other, we vent to each other, we eat chips and salsa together, play each other in Trivia Crack but more importantly we serve the greater purpose to do what is best of kids.

For the Love of Coffee-Need I say more.

For the Love of Spouse/Significant Other-I don't have a lot to say on this one. When it comes to this kind of relationship I don't have a lot to offer. But I would like to think that one day there will be a man that will love the spanz that is Meghan Kathleen Loyd

For the Love the Lord-This relationship is the most important. Because it was out of this love, came perfect love. Jesus gave His life, died a death that I deserve, and then defeated it three days later. By His wounds we are healed.

I can't promise you the most insightful blog or the funniest, but what I can promise you is truthfulness. I'm a Jesus loving, coffee drinking, middle school choir teacher that is just trying the best that I can. And sometimes that involves stories about underwear on the floor of a QT Gas Station.