Thursday, August 27, 2015

Every Single One of Us...

One week. We have been in school for one week and let me tell you that I am exhausted. But blessed, seriously blessed.

This school year I took on a little project for the bulletin board outside of my room. I saw this wonderful idea on Pinterest, and I stole it. Let's be real educators, we see something brilliant and we steal it! Here is the finished project!!
I just love this phrase. "Every one of us a single note but together we create a masterpiece." Each of those note heads placed on that staff are students, a few teachers, and one awesome Assistant Principal's thumb prints. Their individual mark on this world. Each one of those thumb prints represents one living and breathing human life. Each one of those "single notes" has hopes, dreams, plans, and ideals. But also each one of those "single notes" has fears, doubts, hurts, and pains many of which are sometimes just to hard to bear. I stand outside of my room everyday and I look at this bulletin board and sometimes it takes everything I have not to tear up. When it comes to teaching kids music, I tend to get a little emotional, sorry not sorry. The beauty of this board is that what makes it cool is all the notes together. Each day I take single individual "notes" and I help them to learn how to work together to create something wonderful to create a masterpiece. It is the most beautiful sound in the world to me when I hear middle school hormone filled kids work together and create amazing choral music. There is nothing better.

Today as I was standing outside of room one phrase stuck out to me and took on a whole new meaning, "Every Single One of Us." Educators, it takes every single one of us. It takes us working as a team, as a community, as a profession to reach children. To take them new places they have never been, to teach them to explore the world they live in, to show them right from wrong, to teach how to being involved citizens of the world. We can't choose the lives our students live. We can't choose their parents, their circumstances, their homes, their heartbreaks, and their brokenness. But we can do, is the biggest action of all, we can choose to love them. All of them. Their hurts, their broken pieces, their hang ups, and all. Is it easy? Haha, no! I have some students, in fact some class hours that are harder to love than others.It involves a lot of grace on my part. I know that their actions are rooted in something else, but it isn't me. Their hurts, their broken pieces, their hang ups, and all, they bring that into my classroom and they are just craving more. More love, more support, more attention and more joy. In order for me to meet their needs I have to do my best and be my best. I have to see the masterpiece in them, even when they are creating straight jackets out of their hoodies and attaching themselves to their chairs. For many of my students I just might be the only person who sees the masterpiece that they can become.

Educators we are creating masterpieces every day. Are some days harder, yes, but they are always worth it. So my challenge to myself is to be reminded everyday that it takes every single one of us, to create masterpieces. I am not in this alone. We are all working together to change the world. It is a daunting task, but we are professional educators armed with love and compassion, we create and make the most beautiful masterpieces out there! So my friends, this school year, let's choose joy and let's choose to make fabulous masterpieces.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Freshman Flashback

Tomorrow is OBU's move in day. It is so hard to believe that just eight years ago I was moving into to good old WMU and by old I mean super old, and starting my journey at OBU. Let's take a moment and just all have a collective scream that it happened eight years ago and not yesterday. Those four years were the craziest, busiest, and one of the greatest times in my life. As much as I loved my time at OBU I wouldn't trade in this journey and this chapter in my life for anything. But there are just a few things that I wished I knew back then.

Dear Freshman Meghan,

Welcome to college! It will be great and scary and awesome and fun and stressful all at the same time. Just a few little things you should know:

1. Being a music major. Abbandon any of the ideas that you have built up in your head about being a music major. It won't be like hours of high school choir. Let's just say you will spend hours in the libary, hours in the practice room, hours looking over symphonies and determining chords and form, writing fake lesson plans for your methods class. You will streached and you will be become better. You are blessed to be studying with some of the best professors in the world. Don't take that for granted. Don't forget their lessons. Spend extra time with Dr. Todd and drink lots of coffee with her.

2. Coffee You will no longer hate it. I promise. I really really really really really really really promise.

3. Friendships You are about to meet some of the greatest people in the world. Some of them will only be in your life for a season. They will bless your life in that time and even eight years later they will be there for you when you need but they won't be apart of your everyday life. However there are some friends that will stay with you way past graduation. You will all laugh together, cry together, travel together, teach kids together, and have fun group text conversions. These ladies will be there for you no matter what, no matter the distance, and no matter the time since you last saw each other.

4. The ARA. You can eat cereal and ice cream with every meal. It is awsome. The rest of the ARA...not so much.(Okay you still eat cereal and ice cream for dinner, but it is okay you are an adult so you can do that).

5. Maybe Teaching High School Choir Isn't What You Want You will be surprised by what age group God lays on your heart to teach. Shocked. And you will love it. Totes love it.

6. The Walk. Treasure those precious moments. Remember every step.

7. Nickname. You will start answering to the nickname MegLo. It may seem silly. But it will become a part of you. Because the person that gave you that nickname said it was because it made your name more fun and reflect that joy that you have for life.

8. Ring By Spirng I know that you are thinking "hey it's OBU, I'm going to meet the love of my life, get engaged, and get married three weeks after your graduation." Hate to spoil it for you, but it won't happen. And it is okay. In fact eight years later it still hasn't happened. And it is still okay. You know why it is okay, you can take up the entire bed, watch whatever you want to watch on Netflix, and you don't have to share your cereal (that is a big one for you). You will struggle with it. You will have days when it seems like that desire of your heart won't happen. But this journey, this gift of being single is one of the best gifts ever. Embrace your place, embrace this time. You won't regret it.

For the Love,
The 26 year old you about to start your fifth year of teaching.
P.S. You are still awkward. You still trip over stuff and run into glass doors.

Like I said before, I wouldn't trade in this season of my life for the world, but I do have moments when I wish I could go back to those days of Bison Hill and maybe do things a little differently. Spend more time with friends, have lots of fun, and okay maybe practice a little bit more.

God Bless OBU.
Because putting black eyeliner on your cheecks and jumping off benches in front of the steps of your dorm, is totes a Freshman thing. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dear Middle Schooler,

It is so hard to believe that school is just around the corner! I love summer and I love being able to relax and have some time to read books, go to the pool, go to the beach, and binge watch One Tree Hill on Netflix. But as much as a I love those days, I love teaching middle school kids how to sing even more!

So here are some thoughts that I just feel led to share, these are all things that I wish middle school kids knew and really understood before school starts. Oh and some of these things are pretty good for adults to remember too!

1. Lockers. This one is more new sixth grade friends that will be gracing our hallways. Having a locker is a huge rite of passage for a student and it can be exciting and scary at the same time. Just remember that it is more than okay that you can't open your locker the first time. In fact it is more than okay that you can't open your locker on the second, third, fourth, fifth and so on and so on try. Don't give up! You will get the hang of it! Just remember that on the first day of school there will be lots of teachers and your principal and assistant principals that will be more than happy to help you open your locker, that is what we are here for, to help you! However, the more you practice and the more you try it on your own, you will get it! This goes out to all middle school students. Don't let your locker turn into the bottomless pit. Lockers can get super messy real fast! Just remember to clean it out once and awhile. Oh...don't leave food in your locker. Gross.

2. Join Clubs. Be apart of different organizations and meet new people. Do you like to sing, join choir (cough cough hint hint), do you like to play an instrument, join band or orchestra, do you like to draw, think about Art Club, do you like writing, think about joining a poetry club, creative writing or newspaper club, do you like to lead and serve other peers, think about joining student council, do you love sports and playing them, try out for a sports team. There are tons of places for you to find a place to thrive at what you love to do. Plus when you are a part of clubs and organizations you will find other students that like and enjoy the same things you do and you can start building friendships with them. If there are dances and game nights go to them and have fun! If you have friends in choir, band, orchrestra, or they play on a sports team go to their concerts and games and support them. Have school spirit!

3. Listen to your teachers and do your homework. Put your phone away, social media and everything else will be there at the end of the day. No further explanation needed.

4. Problems with your friends. They will happen and how you handle them will show your true character. When you actually have a problem with friend, don't text them, don't post about them on social media, and don't start talking about them to other friends. Actually talk to them and if you feel that you can't talk to that person without getting upset, then go and see your teachers and counselors and let them help you. If you feel that you are hanging out with people that are wrong for you, that do things that you know that are wrong, it is okay to walk away. If they don't do everything to still have you in their lives then they weren't truely your friends.

5. Have fun! Middle School can be scary but it can also be one place that you can have a lot of fun. You are in the transition years from being a kid to teenager. Have fun, don't take yourself to seriously, laugh, be open to new things, and seek out those that can help you when it is overwhelming.

To all of my teacher friends, I hope you have an amazeballs year this year! Do cool stuff and please tell me about I want to know!! I'm looking for feature bloggers and I would love for you to guest blog about what you are doing in your classroom.

To my students for the 2015-2016 school year, I'm so looking forward to this amazing school year. We are going to have a blast!