The power of music overtook my classroom today. Although both periods responded differently, both classes responded. It opened up discussion on language, and life. I took a risk by doing it, and the plunge brought positivity to the room that carried over into every action we did thereafter. I will forever start class like this. Today has been a monumental and transformative day for me as an educator. Today confirmed and reawakened my eyes to the diverse roles a teacher plays in student’s lives. Millionaire Mindset has set me on a spiral of embracing my inner five-year-old, which is carrying over into all aspects of my day, and no doubt causing an upward vibration into years of I hope many lives other than my own. I want it to spread like a happiness wildfire and light up the most desolate and darkest of places!
The statement “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” provoked conversations regarding a girl’s abandonment by her father, struggles of learning English, then the isolating feelings of being a new student in an entirely new country, laughed at by peers.
I started the class by swinging into the song lyrics, not explaining why we were doing it. My energy was literally everything. I noticed the way my voice tone and projection had direct effects on participation, emotion, and energy of the entire room. It carried over into recess and lunch when students didn’t even know about what went on in my classes. The energy lingered and there was something joyous and sacred happening in the classroom. There were respectful and hyper conversations, and students who I taught in summer school even came trickling in to say hi and tell me about what they did during fall break.
First we recited line by line of the song. A question was asked about color vs. colour. With ultimate uber corny enthusiasm I had them say these Kelly Clarkson lyrics like they were in music videos. Slowly but surely, as we gained momentum, both the boys and girls got sassier with each verse. By the time we got to “Thanks to you I’m finally thinking about me” they were into the song whether they liked it or not. I walked by several girls and smiled from ear-to-ear remembering the times I would also regard these moments as opportunities to show off my voice, hoping the teacher/leader would notice. So I made sure to exclaim that I heard many beautiful and powerful voices in the room, remembering the way that used to bring me joy, thinking they were talking about me. Even the shyest and most stone-faced of students read the words and at least smirked, and that was enough for me. I thought about how everyone wants to be this fearless, happy and pure five-year-old self. I remembered the way one student shared a future goal of “keeping my child heart” and looked at him as he sang the words smiling boldly and peering up in enjoyment. I thought about how I could lead a song into any lesson I wanted, whether it be the grammar/language of the song, or the song’s meaning as a whole.
After we sang together, and the loud beat stopped blaring from my speakers (I had to close my doors today, but I am sure people were wondering why I was having them become mini-American idols), I had the journal prompt (a usual routine at the beginning of class, unlike the unexpected singing they experienced today): “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” What do you think of this statement? Is it true? Can you think of anything in your life that was very difficult, but that made you a stronger and better person? This is the journal that provoked the rich conversations we had. Academically we went over words like declaration, quote, lyric, statement and their meaning and uses. There was a second element of the journal where we reviewed words we had a quiz on before the fall break, then we went over new words. These activities were all done with the same attentiveness and enthusiasm built after starting the class with music in the way we did. I can’t wait to be more corny and start classes with more positive and corny cheerleader strategies I come up with!!