For those who follow and/or love astrology, the Age of Aquarius began at the end of December 2020. You can read more about this here. It reminds me of the 5th Dimension’s song, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In from when I was growing up. After surviving the dark times of 2020, “something” told me to go within. I started meditating which has really helped calm me during the rest of the 2020-2021 stressful school year. I work with a great bunch of teachers and we decided to meet face-to-face with our students that year. We did that for the entire year with the exception of between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020. We knew people wanted to be with family members they hadn’t had access to, so we went to online learning during that time to allow for family visits and quarantining.
Meeting face-to-face had its challenges but our school took lots of precautions. Not one student contracted covid from another person while at school. It was all from extra-curricular sports. This led to face-to-face teaching AND online learning which led to very stressed teachers. Don’t get me wrong. Our parents and administration were super appreciative of what we were doing and never failed to show us the appreciation throughout the year. The students were happy to be back to at least a “semi-normal” routine and see friends and teachers in person. It showed on their faces (what we could see of them anyways) and in their body language.
All of this led to a need (at least from my “higher self” to try meditation. Meditation can be different for everyone. It’s a time for calming your mind, body and spirit. Some people pray, some garden, some listen to music or craft. For me, I listened to positive affirmations with some peaceful music. I learned about chakras and began to focus on my breathing. The results were pleasantly surprising. Then I saw a “meme” that made me stop and think.
And then this one.
That was the power from just one song! It made an impact on their lives, gave them the desire to learn about the less fortunate in their own community, led them to dream big, and set goals. Those young adolescents (some not even in their teens yet) aspired to no longer ignore the homeless but to reach out and lend a hand – something so many adults chose not to do. They showed no fear, learned many other vital life skills along the way and made the world (at least in our community) a better place. And they inspired others along the way too – including their music teacher who watched in amazement at the changes taking place in them daily. And for those wondering…. what happened to the money? It was donated to a local homeless shelter. My words of thought and words of wisdom to you??? Never let classroom teachers, principals or parents make you feel like you are just a fluff or extra subject, or a means for which others get a planning period. Music connects with people of all ages – even middle school students in our world today.
During my time there, we discussed current events in music – inspired by popular music of the day as well as local news. Students reached out to help the homeless, ended up testifying at our state capital about animal cruelty (which led to a change in our state law) and learned how music was so important for healing Holocaust survivors. I won awards for teaching “outside the box.” But as I’ve already said in another post, the awards aren’t what are important. It’s really about how music touches our lives and how we touch the lives of our students. And then there’s how our students touch our lives and teach us just as many things as we teach them.
Be that person who isn’t afraid to tackle more than “just music” in your classes. Reach out to touch the hearts, minds and lives of your students. You may never know how much of an impact you’ve had on a student but…. Share your love and passion for music (or a song) and create that positive vibe. Dare to dream with and for your students. Help them to set goals and never underestimate them. They will always rise…..or sink……according to your expectations. Nothing is impossible and remember….kindness is contagious. As Michael Jackson once said, “Heal the world, make it a better place.”