This blog was written by guest blogger Melody Potratz, as part of our First Year Teacher Series. Ms. Potratz is in her first year of teaching middle school choir at River City Middle School in Post Falls, Idaho.
There are many wonderful things about my job and school: my own classroom and office, fantastic staff, and great kids just to name a few. Perhaps what I am most thankful for is a supportive administration that believes in the necessity of music education. This is evident in many ways, one being the requirement that all sixth grade students take either band or choir year round. I love that I have this incredible opportunity to expose so many kids to music, however, I am fairly certain that I have more than half of the sixth grade in choir. I am not complaining, but the bottom line is that I have three very full sixth grade classes and that alone presented some interesting hurdles as I headed towards my winter concert.
I started teaching holiday concert music in early October and was met with, “Why are we singing Christmas songs before Halloween?” several times a day. It may have been a little early as most people don’t get into the Christmas spirit until at least November, but starting early ensured that my students had plenty of time to solidly learn the music and allowed me to give attention to the things that really send me into a panic: the logistical details. For instance, “How am I going to get 150 kids from three classes together in the same room at the same time on risers during the school day to rehearse with the accompanist?” is a question that frequented my thoughts.
Much to my relief, it was all fairly easy once I made the time to sit down and iron out all the details, but I owe a lot to the helpfulness of the wonderful people with which I work. The sixth grade teachers were flexible with their schedules. The band teacher offered his room for the rehearsal (since mine is cozy enough with just 50 kids). Both administrators not only attended my concert, but also passed out programs and didn’t hesitate to help with setup and tear down.
My holiday concert certainly was not perfect, but it was successful. For the sake of our sanity, I think it is important for us as music teachers to make a distinction between perfection and success (if you ask me, perfection is in the eye of the beholder). Receiving positive feedback from administrators, fellow teachers, parents, friends, and community members was enough to tell me that it was a success, and so was the latte that my principal handed me the next morning. My kids are so excited for the next one and I must say that I am ready to start new music. Happy spring semester!
About the Author
As the daughter of a piano teacher, Melody grew up in a musical home and began her music studies with piano lessons at age four. She joined a children's choir at her first opportunity in fourth grade and sang in public school choirs until she graduated from high school in 2009. She earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Vocal Music Education from the University of Idaho where she was an active member of the collegiate chapters of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity and the American Choral Directors Association, serving as president of both chapters in her senior year. Melody is currently teaching middle school choir and piano in Post Falls, Idaho.More Content by Melody Potratz